Chris Kridler's Sky Diary: storm chasing, photography and rainy-day tales

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Tempest Tours storm chasing adventures

FUNNEL VISION, a novel about storm chasers by Chris Kridler

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storm gallery: May 20-24, 1999

To see a larger version of a photo, just click on its thumbnail image below. Then, to get back to this page, hit the "back" button on your browser. Photos noted as taken from video were shot with a digital video camera.




Solo chasing! On May 20, I set out from Norman for the Texas panhandle, looked at data in Shamrock (where I ran into the Cloud 9 Tours group), and decided to head a little west to play an area of decent moisture, good winds and a dryline push. I was on this storm when it first went up. The white streaks (click to see the big version) are hailstones falling. Photo from video. Before it got mean, the May 20 storm, which went up south of Pampa and north of Jericho, Texas, was pure beauty. Photo from video.




The May 20 storm threw down a large gustnado that lasted for several seconds. You can get a sense of its size by looking at the circulating dust in relation to the windmill in the picture. Photo from video.




The storm south of Pampa (near Boydston) on May 20 produced a weirdly picturesque tornado -- it touched down only briefly, though I didn't see the debris cloud, and it stretched itself to pieces. Photos from video.





The May 20 storm again tried to form a tornado as I pursued it (along with about a zillion other chasers) to the southeast. The storm's unusual south-southeast motion was enough to raise eyebrows by itself. And the funnel was quite impressive, too. Photo from video. The May 20 storm formed yet another funnel, but as far as I could tell, it didn't reach the ground. This supercell had tornado warnings on it during this time, but I never saw it form another tornado. Photo from video.




After the tornado and funnel clouds, the storm still churned magnificently, as sirens were sounded in its path. Photo from video. The sunset behind the May 20 storm showed clearing -- and amazing colors.




A unique perspective, captured in a timed exposure: Just after the sunset on May 20, lightning bolts leap out of the tornadic storm while traffic goes by.




Though tornadoes were reported elsewhere in Kansas on May 22, I ended up chasing a storm in south-central Nebraska that evolved into a spectacular gust front. Here's some of the first dust it kicked up. Photo from video. The May 22 gust front had the appearance of a Dust Bowl storm -- here curtains of dust rush toward yours truly. It ended up chasing me back down into Kansas. Photo from video.




The May 22 gust front developed a shelf cloud and then a layered appearance. It exhibited a lot of strange green colors, so I assumed there was some big hail in it. Here's one view. Photo from video. And here's another view of the May 22 storm. I've never seen a shelf cloud so large. It was beautiful. Photo from video.




I drove in a big circle on May 24 from Amarillo, Texas, to Roswell, New Mexico, and back into Texas, seeing cloud towers corkscrew and collapse all day. Then a severe storm, part of a big line, ran over Lubbock, where I was staying. Here, lightning strikes CLOSE. A tower is hit by lightning -- it was hit at least four times -- as a line of storms moves through the western Texas panhandle on May 24. Photo from video.






Go to more chase accounts and photos:

May 9-16: Picturesque storms and three tornadoes in one day in Kansas

May 20-24: A tornado in Texas, funnels, a gorgeous gust front, and blistering lightning

May 25-31: Supercells, a tornado (or was it a tricky lowering?), a spectacular twilight, and some beautiful cells in Kansas

June 1-5: A double rainbow in Oklahoma, a funnel, a bust, and two wild Nebraska tornadoes

July 22-August 14: A few lightning storms in the middle of a drought in Maryland

August 21-25: Dust devils and daytime convection during the Arizona monsoon

November: Storms, a rainbow and fabulous sunsets on Florida's Space Coast





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go to reports from 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997