Friday, May 14, 2010

05/07/10 Mother Nature's Birthday Present

Mother Nature providing a spectacular
lightning show southwest of Kewanee, IL

Last Friday (my birthday), which feels like forever ago in the "weather world" featured a warm front that preceded to get very active shortly after midnight with a brilliant lightning display here in west-central Illinois. This presented my first real opportunity to grab some lightning shots this season and on this night the storms sure were prolific lightning producers. Thanks to an abundance of elevated-CAPE and even some storms getting surface-based along the warm front their were an abundance of intense CG's to observe. I set-up shop after midnight in the backyard as the storms approached from the southwest near the Mississippi River moving northeast. I thought I'd easily be able to get a few photogenic lightning shots which ended up being the case as the thunderstorms approached. One of these storms upon arrival became severe-warned with 60+ mile per hour winds being reported near Monmouth, IL and Galesburg, IL well after midnight. Quite impressive as instability tends to decrease in the early morning hours after midnight. Anyhow, I managed to get several good shots that I ended up happy with. You know you're seriously into severe weather when you are out past midnight on your birthday doing storm photography rather than well you can imagine...or maybe that's just the weather geek in me talking? Hmm...wait don't answer that ;) We also ended up with easily 2" inches of rain from this system which would later cause flooding problems the following week. I added several photos from the night below:

I thought this bell (foreground) created a
good photo-op as the lightning approached my location
I'm a big chicken when it comes to lightning
(this one sure got my attention rather quick)
Followed-up by yet another intense CG stroke
(storm actually becoming severe-warned at this point)
This convection sure was fun to photograph
I'm more of a storm structure photographer myself, but photographing lighting ranks pretty high on my favorites-list when it comes to photography
Yet another intense CG stroke
nearly in the
same location as many above
One of my favorite shots from the night!

Mother Nature sure gave me a nice birthday present last wasn't a supercell, but hey I'll take a gorgeous lightning display every now and then too. I'll update later with another post as this past Sunday I made the long drive to Kansas for Monday's HIGH risk and almost sure "wedgefest" in the Great Plains. It ended up being a frustrating day at least for myself...Stay tuned.