the farnam tornado with lightning bolt
striking rope tornado with lightning
To date, the Farnam tornado is the only rope tornado I've seen in my 15 years of chasing and what a beautiful one it was. On the ground for almost 10 minutes, it barrelled across open farmland directly toward us, lifting only as it crested the ridge a few fields away.
What a chase. What a day...
A2 – (Printed Area – 544mm x 340mm)
A3 – (Printed Area – 380mm x 237mm)
the most photogenic
Usually before we commence a tour, we like to take a day after landing to acclimatise and kit out the car ready for the next 3 weeks or so of chasing. May of 2019 however saw an exceptionally rare run of consecutive chase days that meant we had to hit the road as soon as we landed and Day 1 turned out to be one of the best.
After a bit of a fruitless chase up towards North Platte, it soon became evident that the chase of the day was down near McCook so we hauled ass sharpish. Arriving in Farnam just in time to witness the first of 5 tornadoes from this storm; a skinny, short-lived rope tornado touched down on the horizon over McCook. This was quickly followed by another brief needle tornado and then a big dusty cone that lasted for about 5 minutes.
With the supercell on an intercept course to pass directly over us, the storm quickly wrapped up again and put down a glorious winding rope tornado that remained on the ground for almost 15 minutes. Twisting and turning its way toward us over the ridge, backlit by the evening sun as lightning stabbed around it, the site was unforgettable. It remains the most, if not the only, photogenic tornado I've ever captured.
With the storm now in full flow, the tornado lifted again and the supercell continued to surge towards us. The cloud motion in the lower levels beneath the base - the rotation of the wall cloud, the inflow into it, the upward rising motion - is nothing short of mesmerising and in the field next to ours, another tornado touches down. Quickly, we snap out of the headlights, jump in the car and race down the road as the tornado crosses behind us.
Chase experiences rarely get better than this. Or do they?
- Canon 80D + Tamron 16-300 @ 50mm | f/7.1 | 1/13sec | ISO100
- Fotospeed Photo Smooth Pearl 290
- Fotospeed Natural Soft Textured Bright White 315