October 4th looked crazy on paper. Great shear, super lift, great instability and moisture for Oct spelled big trouble for the folks in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. We left early morning in heavy snow and fog from our home in Colorado, and headed towards Lincoln, NE where we’d decide to head north or east. A supercell formed north of Columbus and was moving away from us so we decided to play the patience game for something further east. Soon a wedge tornado formed from the first supercell and we were feeling pretty bummed. Finally our storm got going as it crossed into western Iowa, dropping a large tornado west of Sloan. After an occlusion, a second, third and fourth tornado formed and the latter becoming a large 1.5 mile wide wedge heading near Climbing Hill northeast towards Cherokee. We had to stop the trip as we encountered a destroyed farmstead north of Climbing Hill, where our search resulted in no injuries, except farm animals. Fortunately, no fatalaties occurred that day, but a lot of destruction of property. Here’s a 10 minute video from this day:
Here is a select group of images taken during our second photography workshop tour in northern Arizona. Between the insanely gorgeous landscape and the storms/lightning, it was an amazing week of photography! Please click on an image if you would like to see a larger photo. You can also find out more about these tours at www.southwestphotographytours.com , which is our other tour website.
Each year we run two workshop tours for monsoon storms and landscapes. One is based in Tucson and the other in Flagstaff,, Arizona. Here are several images taken during the first tour, from Tucson. It was an amazing 8 days for nonstop storms!! Please enjoy the photos and click on any if you would like to see a large one. You can also find out more about these tours at www.southwestphotographytours.com , which is our other tour website.
We stayed in Canada for this specific day. Everything looked like a decent tornado event could unfold. Great shear, moisture and instability were in place for a fantastic event. Only issue, a weak cap. This would allow too many storms to form too quickly, which would mitigate the tornado threat. However, we did witness a very nice supercell that likely did produce a tornado that we just couldn’t confirm south of Regina.
What a treat! One thing I love about chasing in Canada is the possibility of the Aurora making an appearance. This night it certainly did!
I was torn between playing further northwest or playing the dryline in western North Dakota this day. Decent shear, moisture and instability was available for any cell that could sustain itself under the capping inversion. This cell was the best of them. It came QUITE close to producing a tornado south off Williston, ND. Structure was quite pretty, and the oil fields were evident in the photos! Crazy how much oil exploration is going on up there.
What a finish to a day that looked pretty doomed. Cloud cover all day kept good insulation from occurring and thus reducing instability. Just south of the North Dakota border, skies were clearer, but shear was weaker. Nonetheless, a supercell, nearly tornadic, formed near Cayuga, North Dakota and became a very nice storm! It was quite electrified and also produced copious amounts of large hail. We watched it form from a towering cu all the way through its decaying stage. What a treat!
We intercepted a severe warned supercell in southeast Wyoming this day. Decent ingredients were in place to get storms to form in the upslope flow north of Cheyenne. This storm became a wet lp supercell and had pretty decent structure for its 3 hour lifetime.
July 9th appeared to be a marginal set up. Shear wasn’t very good, and moisture was fairly lacking. However, moisture pooled along a boundary and winds on the north side of the boundary were easterly, giving a bit of enhanced low level shear. By mid afternoon, several storms developed, with one cell north of Cozad becoming a monster supercell very quickly. The rapid development stretched low level vorticity very fast and a nonsupercell type tornado formed. It persisted for about 5-7 minutes before dissipating. Please excuse the poor quality of the tornado shots as they were taken out the windshield while moving. Other cells become photogenic (and severe) as we chased till mid evening.
I love chasing in July in the northern plains. It is very scenic and very few people around. July 7th had plenty of moisture, decent instability, good shear and a dryline for convergence. By mid afternoon, a storm formed northwest of Alzada, Montana, and right turned along the boundary all the way to Sundance, Wyoming where it eventually gusted out. It produced a really nice funnel halfway to the ground, as well as nice structure. Near dark, another cell formed southwest of Moorcroft, Wyoming and was an electrified beast! Love those storms that produce cgs every 5-7 seconds!