All Day Mammatus

Wednesday, July 1, 2015




Harbingers of severe weather, mammatus formations showed themselves through most of day in Eastern Iowa on Saturday, June 20, 2015, appearing as early as 8:30 am. The atmosphere was rife
with moisture all day and it showed. As a severe-warned storm cell approached the position seen in the three images above, myriad mammatus festooned the underside of its enormous anvil. Spotting position here was on 260th Street, .1-mile north of US Highway 34, about 1.3-mile west of the town of New London. The top image looks northwest at 6:19 pm. The middle image faces south at 6:41 pm and the bottom image at 6:43 pm. Nikon D5000 DSLR camera.

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(Fiery) Sunrise, Sunset

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Aided in brilliance by Canadian wildfires on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 were sunrises and sunsets in Iowa. The top image, captured with an iPhone 6 Plus camera at 6:16 am CDT, looks east at the rising sun from North 18th Avenue in Hiawatha, just southeast of Fay Clark Park. The bottom image looks northwest at the setting sun at 7:35 pm from Echo Hill Road, about .3-mile east of C Avenue, north of Marion. Nikon D5000 DSLR camera.


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Breathtaking Storm Cell

Sunday, June 28, 2015


This remarkable image is actually an Adobe Bridge photomerge of four separate vertically oriented images. The entire width of this structure could not be included in my camera's widest angle (18mm focal length) shooting landscape style, but it was also so immense it cut it off vertically! I was forced to shoot "portrait" style to include its depth. The most intense part of this storm cell was located about 70 miles to the west, at the Marion and Mahaska counties border in Iowa. The leading edge of the anvil was about half as far. Photo(s) shot from Yucca Avenue, a little over a mile east of Ainsworth, Iowa in Washington County at 5:28 pm CDT, Saturday, June 20, 2015. This storm would produce brief pinup tornadoes about two hours later in Henry County to the south. The bright area at upper left is the sun, obscured by the anvil.


Showing the sun a little more clearly in the anvil is the image above, captured at 5:27 pm. Nikon D5000 DSLR camera.


My onboard RadarScope view of the storm.

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Funnels, Tornadoes and Rotations

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Pulled off the side of US Highway 34 about 3 1/4-miles southeast of Mount Pleasant in Henry
County, Iowa, my daughter and I witnessed the approach of a shelf cloud at 7:18 pm, Saturday,
June 20, 2015. This shelf cloud was not the same as the classic midwest mid-summer outflow
dominated storm. Several small rotating areas occurred on the leading edge of the shelf cloud, producing small and brief funnels (see circled area above). The image looks northwest.


The above image was captured along the highway about .8-mile closer to Mount Pleasant at 7:21 pm.
Direction is southwest. The right circled area is another brief scud-like funnel. Circled area at center was a big surprise. It shows a ghostly pencil shaped tornado, clearly on the ground. This was not visible to our naked eye and was not discovered until photo processing the next day.


This image is a vide frame capture a minute later. The pencil tornado would be located in the rain wrapped area at far left. The circled area above is a funnel hanging below a rotating wall cloud. Movement was right-to-left. At this point very strong inflow winds kicked up a flat piece of metal which caromed off our vehicle and was carried on into the wind toward the left of the picture. Top three images Nikon D5000 DSLR camera.


My windshield-mounted Go Pro Hero camera caught this funnel at 7:28 pm looking northwest, as the storm system continued to pass through.

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Ma-Ma-Mammatus!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015





I have seen larger and more pronounced "globules" and sunlit displays before, but never have I seen the entire sky filled with spectacularly brilliant mammatus formations. In fact, I would consider this spectacle nearly a once-in-a-lifetime event! The mammatus display was the culmination of an afternoon and evening that produced severe weather, including tornadoes, in southern and eastern Iowa. This was also the culmination of a storm chase my daughter and I took part in the aforementioned SE Iowa area earlier. The images were captured at the Culver's restaurant in Hiawatha, Iowa--our post chase meal location--on Saturday, June 20, 2015.  The top image is a three image stitch panorama looking north. The middle image is the same image save one stitch. The bottom image looks west toward North Center Point Road. All images were shot at 8:47 pm CDT. Nikon D5000 DSLR camera.

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Triple Teamed

Saturday, June 20, 2015



Jupiter (upper left), Venus (upper right) and the moon created a triangular formation in the west sky on Friday evening, June 19, 2015. These two images look west from Bowman Woods Park in Cedar Rapids, Iowa at 9:36 pm CDT. Jupiter shown at magnitude -1.83 and Venus at a brilliant -4.38. It is easy to see how some aircraft pilots sometimes mistake the reflected light from Venus as incoming aircraft or even UFOs. Nikon D5000 DSLR camera.

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Eerie Environs

Friday, June 19, 2015


The severe portion of a storm cell that contained a slowly-rotating wall cloud had passed north and east of the town of New London in Henry County Iowa on the evening of Sunday, June 7, 2015. I had ended my pursuit of the storm and found a north option (County Highway X23) to eventually return home on US Highway 218. About 6.2 miles north of New London I came upon this scene at Trinity Cemetery along the roadside: a thin strip of daylight showing along the horizon in an otherwise eerie sky setting. A steady rain was falling with intermittent CG lightning, so I didn't tarry too long here. The image above, captured at 6:05 pm CDT, is a two-photo stitch which created a panorama effect and looks north. Nikon D5000 DSLR camera.

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