03. June 2014 · Comments Off on The Great Plains in 2014 · Categories: Great Plains 2014

An excellent trip!!

Miles Driven: 5210
US States Visited: 11
Storm Days: 9
Tornadoes: 2
Funnel Clouds: Lots
Hail Dents in Rental Car: Dozens
Fishing Days: 3

5210 Miles Driven

5210 Miles Driven



26. May 2014 · Comments Off on Day 15: Back to West Texas (Small Tornado) · Categories: Great Plains 2014

This was my last chase day and it proved to be a good one. I drove back to the area south of Big Spring, Texas, where three different cells eventually prompted a tornado warning. In the cell I was following there was a short-lived tornado. Not the most epic of tornadoes by any means but I won’t complain – No one was injured and I got to witness this rare meteorological phenomenon.

This may sound odd to some, but there’s an amazing feeling that I got to experience again today that I’ve only felt once before. It can be surprisingly calm when you’re under the storm base and close to the wall cloud and updraft. Sometimes there’s little wind and that makes for a rather serene few minutes… throw in the element of danger and sheer power that can form at any time near there (but standing in a safe location) and it’s all the more exciting.

Overall, a good day indeed!

Miles: 460

6:25p Central Time

6:25p Central Time


Short-lived tornado

A small visible funnel cloud and dirt stirred into the air…

Slightly intensifying...

Intensifying slightly…

Just a small funnel now...

And now just a small funnel cloud

25. May 2014 · Comments Off on Day 14: Texas/Mexico Border · Categories: Great Plains 2014

Today’s storm of the day brought me all the way down to the Texas side of the US/Mexico border in the town of Quemado. On radar, there was a beautiful looking storm coming from Mexico into the States. I was trying to get to the edge of the Rio Grande (I mean, how cool would that be to see a tornado cross the Rio Grande?!) but couldn’t find a public area. This storm was impressive as wall cloud after wall cloud kept forming… again, thought this was going to be it! But alas, it started to weaken when crossing the river… which apparently is often the case, per the local storm chasers.

Visibility in this part of Texas is limited due to the hills and trees but did manage to snap a few photos.

Miles: 466

Looks great on radar!

Looked great on radar!

A small river in Quemado

A small river in Quemado

Updraft evident by the low cloud being pulled into the base of the storm

Updraft evident by the low cloud being pulled into the base of the storm

Just a cool lightening shot

Just a nice CG lightning shot

...and one more lightning shot

…and one more lightning shot

24. May 2014 · Comments Off on Day 13: New Mexico & Western Texas · Categories: Great Plains 2014

Today I started out in Hobbs, NM. Since I was close by I did a quick trip over to Carlsbad to see the caverns in the morning. A welcome break.

Come 1p I was back on the road to catch up with some storms in western Texas. There were a lot of storms but nothing was organized and worth spending much time on. So I took a nap in the car for an hour and then headed over to some very strong cells further east. These had tornado warnings on ’em. Thank you, Texas, for the 80mph speed limit on some of your roads!

I caught up with those cells but the sun was setting in a few hours… had limited time. One storm looked really good and probably had a funnel cloud but I couldn’t get to it in time. Today’s hopes were pinned on the last remaining cells. One had a wall cloud but was rain wrapped. It’s entirely possible there was a funnel but wouldn’t have been able to see it. So I ended the day trying to snap a few shots of lightning.

Miles: 558

Unfortunately this was the best pic I took! :)

Unfortunately this was the best pic I took! 🙂

Shelf cloud

Shelf cloud

Under the base showing a possible hail shaft

Under the base showing a rain and hail shaft

23. May 2014 · Comments Off on Day 12: New Mexico · Categories: Great Plains 2014

Incredible day today! Probably the best yet so far as getting close to seeing a tornado drop. Was positioned perfectly between 2 storms. The one to the south of me, which had a tornado warning on it, was going to pass by me just the right way so I would be able to see the funnel cloud. The one to the west of me was headed straight for me. This one looked perfect and ready to drop a tornado… actually can’t believe it didn’t!

Needless to say, neither produced but I had a blast relaxing and waiting for the storms to come my way.

Miles: 665

Wall Cloud

Wall cloud on the western storm

Same Wall Cloud

Same wall cloud showing the storm is still strong


Just a nice supercell pic

Today had the same area in play as yesterday. I chased down a bunch of different cells in hopes that something would happen with one of ’em. The first took me south of Denver into some pretty canyon land, but that one quickly died. Then I drove back up towards Denver and saw they had a tornado warning… a huge wall cloud was looming over the city and it was looking ominous for sure. But that storm lost its power. Storm after storm were firing and many were cannibalizing each other’s energy. That’s how the day went.

At the end of the afternoon I took one more shot on two cells that looked like they were about to merge. They did and I was in perfect position to view a tornado… looked like it was going to happen as what appeared to be 2 small funnel clouds forming for a few moments shortly after one another, but that was it. I followed that storm again and it looked like it might tornado once more, but again, it didn’t.  Off to Texas tomorrow!

Miles: 375

Possible small funnel starting up

Possible small funnel starting up

This video below is best viewed on larger display:

21. May 2014 · Comments Off on Day 10: Colorado (Rain-Wrapped Tornado) · Categories: Great Plains 2014

Today brought me into eastern Colorado to chase a storm that (allegedly) wound up producing a tornado which sounded the city sirens. If it did drop then it was “rain wrapped” which obscured it completely from view. There were a few times throughout the life of this storm that we all thought it was going to drop a visible funnel cloud but unfortunately no luck there. But got pics of the impressive rotation. Loved it!

Also ran into a few friends on the road and not surprising since there were probably hundreds of enthusiastic amateur and pro chasers on this cell… what with being right outside of Denver the big turnout was inevitable.

Miles: 310

Might be a tornado in there, but the precip prevented any view of it.

Possible multiple-vortex tornado in there. It was a sight to see even if the funnel clouds weren’t visible.

Close up of the lower rotating wall cloud

Close up of the rotating wall cloud.

Rotating Lowering

A second (short-lived) wall cloud crossing over Route 36

20. May 2014 · Comments Off on Day 9: Again in Nebraska · Categories: Great Plains 2014

Far western Nebraska provided another fun day chasing. This time I made it to the storms well in advance to just relax and prop myself up on a hill to see both cells march my way. The lower cell was weaker and not nearly as organized as the northern one (which later prompted a tornado warning). Interesting that I saw a wall cloud develop about 15 minutes before any warning was issued… but never saw a funnel cloud. Doesn’t matter, I’m enjoying just looking at the storm structure and lightning show!

Miles: 275

The northern cell

The northern cell

Single strike at the end of the day

Single strike at the end of the day

19. May 2014 · Comments Off on Day 8: Supercells in Nebraska · Categories: Great Plains 2014

It feels oh so good to post this… finally some weather pics to share.

Drove all the way out to the west side of Nebraska. Got off of I80 before Sidney and headed up on dirt roads to catch up with some supercells. The amount of lightening that was thrown off was nothing short of impressive. But did I mention that the eastern-most cell prompted a tornado warning? Yeah, you can see the wall cloud below. What a fun evening!!

Miles: 481

Radar, May 19

Radar (Storms are west of Sidney. NE)

This prompted a tornado warning.

This cell prompted a tornado warning.

A closer look at the wall cloud

A closer look at that wall cloud

The southernmost cell had the best visible structure.

The southernmost cell had the best visible structure.


A short video of that southern cell:

And I’m off to Nebraska where I’ll likely be spending the next many days… storms are ah coming!

Christopher S. Bond Bridge (New Paseo Bridge) takes me over the Missouri River.

The Christopher S. Bond Bridge (New Paseo Bridge) takes me over the Missouri River.

Miles: 272