Tornado: A 3500 Mile Chase through Eight States

A few weeks ago I headed up a timelapse storm chasing adventure for Alumni of my timelapse photography workshops. The Adventure took us over 3500 miles in 7 days, and through eight different states including Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. During this trip we saw SOFTBALL sized hail, 4 - 5 tornados, an amazing cumulonimbus cloud mushrooming right in front of us, and incredible thunder and lightning storms.

We met up with Tempest Tours in Denver where their team of meteorologists led us on a chase to find the best storm each day for a week. The direction we headed was all based on weather conditions such as wind shear, moisture, lift, and instability. Without any one of these variables a tornado cannot form. On day three we hit the jackpot while in western Iowa. We were filming a mesocyclone near Stuart, Iow when a funnel came out of the cloud. Within minutes the funnel touched down, officially becoming a tornado, and was heading directly for us. We hopped into the van and drove a few miles down the road where we got out and filmed the tornado coming toward the road. Eventually a second "rope" tornado formed, and lingered to give us a few minutes to capture it.

Later that afternoon we saw another 2 additional tornados, and hail on the side of the road the size of baseballs and softballs. Think about that. In New England it's rare when we get hail at all, and usually it's pea size or at most, quarter size. To see hail the size of softballs was mind blowing.

I hope you enjoy watching the film I put together. A second film will follow, sometime in the fall, from the clips captured by workshop participants.

A shout out to Chris GulliksonWilliam ReidRon RiemersmaMartin Lisius, and Brian Hastings for keeping us safe on this trip, and for getting us to some beautiful storms and tornados. Shoutout to all of the participants of this tour including: Guy OldhamsMark NicholasMelinda S GordonTammy SmithGlenn KulmRandall Simms, and the other van, including: Michelle D'Andrea MaloneyKatherine TomsKevin Maloney, and let's not forget LA Meteorologist Dallas Raines, who joined us for a couple of days and brought with him a handful of tornados.