21 May 2016: Stunning spinning supercell and lightning at Leoti, Kansas
May 21, 2016: Today, Kathy Velasquez and I focused our chase target to Leoti, Kansas, along with legions of other chasers, and were treated to a stunning supercell with amazing structure. We barely saw the first tornado and missed the others but chose to hang back and appreciate this rare beauty of a storm rather than tangle with the rain. This ranks among my favorite storms of all time for its beauty.
Video of the incredible supercell at Leoti, Kansas, on May 21, 2016. Hypnotic time-lapses tell the story. For best quality, click on gear symbol at lower right of video and choose 1080HD. Video by Chris Kridler.
Click on the thumbnails to see a larger image.
Getting an early view of convection from Kansas' Lake Scott turned out to be a bad idea. It's surrounded on all sides by hills.
East of Leoti, we paused to observe this beautiful barn.
Kathy and I ran into Matt and Betsy Crowther on the edge of Leoti, and we watched the sky.
The clouds struggled to do anything for a long time.
Finally, storms started popping, and we intercepted these two as they approached Leoti.
Research vehicles move to get into position on the storms.
The storms bubbled. Several of my chaser friends line the road in this photo.
About this time, the storm formed a brief tornado, one of several - here obscured by rain.
Rotation was evident.
Another lowering seems to appear in the rain beneath the storm.
Under the storm at this point was a rapidly rotating wall cloud (just to the left of the silos).
Sparky! And what great structure!
Stacked plates! What a beautiful storm.
Many chasers paused on this hill. Unfortunately, 35mph inflow hammered us with the strong smell of the adjoining feedlot.
The layers in the storm were gorgeous.
UFO or supercell?
This is a multi-image panorama that captures the fabulous structure of the storm.
Another look toward the northwest; orange color heralded the setting sun.
And directly north, the storm continued to rotate and drop small tornadoes in the rain. I was content to enjoy the structure.
Mammatus clouds over the feed lot to the south.
Sunset and structure!
This storm was so pretty. I shot photos pretty much continuously, along with a great GoPro video that I time-lapsed.
A vertical shot shows the structure looking up.
Another multi-image panorama shows the storm at sunset.
The colors deepened.
The mammatus really lit up with the sunset.
A slow exposure gives the storm a soft look as I try to capture lightning at twilight.
The storm weakened but produced continuous lightning as the sky darkened.
Another great CG (cloud-to-ground strike) and lightning crawler.
Complex crawlers and a fascinating storm structure.