10 day tour with Tempest Tours in early May 2013 – Part 3 “The Chase Days”

When we woke up on our 7th day (May 7th), we finally had some storms to chase! I don’t really remember the setup of these days but we started chsasing in Kansas and found some really nice storm features of these high-based storms. In the end of the week we turned back down to Texas but found nothing really impressive.

updraft
Beautiful structure of this really flat, high-base updraft.

 

storm
A really cool U-shape of this storm base. I like how the right part of the storm is so well defined. The inflow winds were really strong on this storm, blowing tumble-weed over the fields.

 

rotating updraft
I am not really sure if it is the bad lighting that makes this rotating updraft so smooth or if it really had this perfect rounded shape.

 

storm chaser
The storm on May 8th was very similar to the one the day before. It was never close to be tornadic but was quite beautiful.

 

smooth base
I really love these smooth based storms. It really looks like something from another world.

 

tempest tours chase van
Our van in front of the storm

 

black white
This is a color photo but the colors of this field were almost black and white. Quite beautiful.

 

lightning
Our tour guide Brian Morganti is passionate about photographing lightning and with my new tripod that I bought during this tour I managed to catch a few.

 

 

 

impressive storm structure
Impressive structure!

 

funnel
A funnel cloud very briefly appeared from a storm, no longer than 10 seconds. It did not appear from the wall cloud and our tour guide wasn’t too impressed but it was the closest we got to a tornado on this tour.

 

structure
This storm looked much more impressive than can be seen on my photos. I was quite disappointed when I looked at them afterwards. The structure was a amazing with a “highway of clouds” coming in from our left, taking a full turn around the base.

 

swordfish cloud
Swordfish cloud!

 

Lightning bolt
I started to get better at capturing lightning during our second night. This photo (I have published it before) was heavily cropped.

 

Double lightning
Another good lightning shot (also published before).

 

mammatus clouds
Mammatus clouds in Texas.

 

light
The creates light shadows behind a storm cloud.

 

inflow bands
Chasing in central Texas with bad road networks and trees here and there. This storm had impressive inflow bands but not much else.

 

texas storm chasing
This is a problem with chasing in these parts. There could be a tornado under the storm but you could hardly tell because you can’t get there and there are hills and trees obstructing your view.

 

fredericksburg
Our plan was to stay in Fredericksburg over the night but the tornado warned storm was coming our way. We had to head out ouside of the town and let the storm pass. A few of us got out of the van to feel some of the powerful rain and winds.

 

dust storm
On our last day we chased a really fast (50 mph) storm in Texas that produced a massive dust front. It was quite intense and the only reason we could keep up with it was that it was going parallell to the highway.

 

rotating cloud
I don’t really know what this is but it was rotating (slowly). Looks really cool though.

 

chase crew
The chase crew of this tour.

 

10 day tour with Tempest Tours in early May 2013 – Part 2 “The Down Days”

The six days that followed produced no storms whatsoever in the entire country. We spent those days in south and southeast Texas. We spent some time in the beautiful Big Bend national park and other photogenic places in the region. Brian is a really passionate photographer and knew a lot of good places to take nice photos.

So, here are some samples of what we did during these down days. I took lots of photos and continued to play around with the panorama view on my iPhone.

inside the van
A panorama view from inside the van. The screen shows what’s going on on our tour guide’s laptop, which was really interesting.

 

super sized hamburger
We spent most of our days in Texas. They don’t joke about the expression “Everthing’s bigger in Texas”. Look at the size of this hamburger!

 

desert road
We traveled around the long roads of south Texas. Not a cloud in sight but that wasn’t really the purpose at this time either. This storm chasing tour turned into a desert national parks tour, which really wasn’t too bad!

 

river
We were as far south that we could throw rocks at Mexico! The rocks on the other side of this river is Mexico.

 

moon
I borrowed my sister’s telescope lens for this tour. I didn’t have much use for it for the storms but I god this really nice photo of the moon. The shot was taken “by hand”, i.e. not using a tripod.

 

desert
Pretty desert flowers and cactuses.

 

mike ricciardi
Professional photographer Mike Ricciardi at work.

 

road runner
Beep beep. A road runner.

 

desert plant
A desert plant with Mexico and Rio Grande in the background.

 

big bend
Beautiful surroundings at the Big Bend national parkl

 

western movie
An old town created for western movies.

 

beautiful landscape christoffer björkwall
Me in front of this beautiful landscape.

 

asphalt road
Asphalt road.

 

river bed
Dried out river bed.
white sands
White sands, NM.

 

white sands
Beautiful white sands.

 

iPhone panorama cloning
Playing around with the panorama functionality at the White Sands, NM.

 

cloud features
Some interesting cloud features. The first time my camera was aimed at the clouds in days!

 

layered clouds
Same clouds a few minutes later. I don’t remember what caused these layered clouds.

 

ruins midwest
One of these really beautiful ruins on the plains of the Midwest.

 

horned lizard
When the weather started to return we were semi-chasing and stopped by a church. I recognized a tarantula hole and while we waited for it to come out a horned lizard came by.

10 day tour with Tempest Tours in early May 2013 – Part 1 “The setup”

I went with Tempest Tours in 2013 from May 1st to May 10th. I was scheduled to go with Weather Gods first but I had to reschedule very late (read more about why here). During this tour I actually didn’t blog or write a diary so I don’t have any detailed text about my experiences of this tour. I will publish some of the best photos from the tour and what I remember from it.

The season of 2013 started off really slow and this tour was no exception, we only had 4 chase days out of 10 which of course was a disappointment. We started off with one chase day before a low pressure blocked the entire continent for six consecutive days. The situation was quite extreme and they even had snow in Oklahoma in the beginning of our tour!

Our tour guide was Brian Morganti, who was a really dedicated and experienced tour guide. Every morning he held a 45 minute (!) presentation of the day’s weather setup. It was highly appreciated, really enlightening and felt really professional. During the down days these presentations weren’t as long which I was quite happy about. In a way it felt like “rubbing in the bad news”, although this was of course not his intent.

 

usa today low tornado activity
This was in USA Today on our last morning of the tour.

 

morning
Brian goes through the setup on our last day.

 

panorama photo storm
I learned about the panorama functionality on my iPhone during this tour. It turned out to be really good for “wide angle photos”. This is the storm on Day 1. Nothing amazing but we were happy to chase right away.

 

questionmark cloud
What happened after Day 1 was perhaps not really a mystery but it sure was disappointing. Even the clouds couldn’t understand why.