Sky Lights

Friday, July 25, 2014




A combination of the right kind of clouds, openings in them and the sun's angle produced these colorful displays on Thursday evening, July 24, 2014. My attention to the sky was prompted by the yellowish color I noticed from within my house and I captured these three images just after 8:30 PM CDT. The display preceded the arrival of rain by about 8 hours. From top to bottom, the images face west, north and northeast. Shot from our back deck on Brentwood Drive NE in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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Ragged Wall Cloud

Sunday, July 20, 2014




These images of a wall cloud hanging below a meso were captured looking east from Escort Lane SW, just south of the US Highway 218 and Highway 1 interchange in southern Iowa City, Iowa. The wall cloud, which would produce a funnel a few minutes later, was located at this moment (6:42 PM CDT, Saturday, July 12, 2014) at the tri-county borders of Johnson, Cedar and Muscatine in Iowa, about 14 miles distant.

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Wicked Wall Cloud

Tuesday, July 15, 2014




This severe storm cell, located near Iowa City, Iowa on the evening of Saturday, July 12, 2014 produced a wicked appearing wall cloud, but no tornado. The top image, captured at 6:30 PM, shows the cell as seen from US Highway 218 just south of Interstate 80. The middle image shows the cloud three minutes later from near the Melrose Avenue exit. The bottom image is the cloud along Highway 1 looking southeast from the Highway 218 off ramp at 6:36 PM.

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Hairy Horizons

Monday, July 14, 2014






Tornado Watch 411 (fourth image) was issued for areas in the south and east of the state of Iowa at 5:00 PM CDT on Saturday, July 12, 2014. A slight risk had previously been designated for these same areas by the SPC. I was given advice to head "south" to find favorable areas of severe weather and did so within a half-hour of the issue. It was evident that a significant storm cell was rapidly forming in front of us and it exploded before our eyes. The first image shows a turbulent southern horizon as seen from Interstate 380 at the Eastern Iowa Airport exit (Exit 13) around 6:17 PM. The second image looks SE at forming wall cloud from I-380 at 6:28 PM and the third a south view from US Highway 218 between the I-80 and Melrose Avenue (Iowa City) exits, captured at 6:30 PM. Images 2 & 3 show tremendous updrafts. The fifth image shows radar captures of the storm cell at 5:00 PM and again at 6:15 PM. Though quick funnel protrusions came and went and a classic wall cloud formed, no tornado dropped from this structure.

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Drive To A Wall Cloud

Sunday, July 13, 2014





With an SPC slight risk for severe weather designated for southeast Iowa on Saturday, July 12, 2014. I set out with my daughter in tow south from Cedar Rapids a little after 5:30 PM. Our efforts were rewarded: Just south of Cedar Rapids along Interstate 380 a cell began to explode into the atmosphere and soon became severe warned. Echo tops would reach 45-50,000 feet. The cell would form a wall cloud with beautiful structure. The top image was captured at 6:25 PM near the North Liberty Iowa exit. The middle image was shot about a minute later and shows the storm with a tail cloud feeding into it. The bottom image was captured at 6:33 PM from the off ramp of US Highway 218 to Highway 1 south of the I-80 interchange. The wall cloud and tail cloud are evident. I fully expected a tornado to form from this mildly rotating turbulent structure, but it did not happen.

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Unearthly Light, Heavenly Light

Saturday, July 12, 2014




While eating breakfast on the morning of Friday, July 11, 2014, I noticed the sky outside beginning to take on an unusual hue. Quickly grabbing my camera I captured two different displays of color, the top image looking east and the bottom west. A momentary gap in the rainy skies that morning in Cedar Rapids, Iowa allowed the rising sun to turn convert the eastern sky into a blaze of orange, while in the west a double rainbow. Both images were taken around 5:47 AM. Within ten minutes both were gone.

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Long Distance Capture

Wednesday, July 9, 2014



Anticipation reigned at this point on Sunday evening, July 6, 2014 as clouds billowed and severe weather warnings were being broadcast fast and furious. These images show a sunlit cumulus tower located about 54 miles to the west in Tama County, Iowa. Camera location and time was: Radio Road at Hinman Road, about 1.5 miles east of Highway 13, just northeast of Marion, Iowa. 7:51 PM CDT. The top photo was imaged at 150mm focal length. The distant clouds were spiking at between 50-55,000 feet. With all the power lines in this area, I eventually decided to relocate, but the volatile storm--tornado warned in areas--suddenly died out a few miles from here. No wind, no rain and no hail.

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