Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The mother of all mothership clouds

Click for full panorama. We've had a few thunderstorms over the past few days on the Space Coast. The best was this one on Friday, which formed a really nice shelf cloud by the time it reached me on the Pineda Causeway.

This kind of formation is pretty typical of Central Florida storms, but it's one of the best I've seen this year.

As I watched the storm move over the Indian River, I saw a few flashes of lightning. It wasn't frequent enough to get a photo, though. The storm formed in the center of the state and moved eastward, but it was losing strength as it neared the shore.

By the time the wind picked up and it started to sprinkle, the storm had lost most of its power. There wasn't much rain and only a few rumbles of thunder.

I was trying to shoot this heron as it perched on the bank with the storm in the background, but I spooked it.

This guy named George had been fishing but closed up his van and took cover as the storm approached.

On Thursday, there was some lightning activity around sunset. I set out in front of Florida Today to capture some lightning, backdropped by a setting sun.

The storm dissipated, and I came up empty.

But then early Friday morning -- as a continuation of the storms that formed Thursday night -- I noticed some electricity in the air just before I had planned to go to bed. Instead, I ventured to the parking lot of this Baptist church, which is within walking distance of my apartment. I hung out with the police, who were using the lot to park while watching for speeding vehicles at 1:30 a.m., and took this long exposure.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cloud scuds and a sign of the apocalypse

This scud reached outward in front of the storm. Must have scared the crap out of that bird.

Last week was extremely wet on the Space Coast. But while we had lots of rain, little of it was in the form of thunderstorms. The system on June 30 was an exception.

The rain moved in from the southwest as a horseshoe-shaped storm. And if God threw a ringer with it, I was the stake: Rain was coming in from three sides.

I followed the storm from the mainland over Pineda Causeway to the beach at Patrick Air Force Base, where someone had reported that a waterspout was forming. That turned out to be bogus: There were some incredibly low-hanging scuds, but there was no rotation.

The north part of the storm was unimpressive.

Looking south, I saw more structure.

Looking over the Indian River, the thunderstorm's leading edge.

After taking this photo, I told these children that they might be in the newspaper. They were quite excited. But the photo wasn't used. I'm sure they were disappointed.

When the rain started spreading over the ocean, a giant swarm of dragonflies flew overhead as they fled from the storm. Freaky. I was so amazed by it that I didn't take a photo of it.
This is looking east, and as you can see, there's lots of rain. But there also was rain to the south and west. It soon clenched in and got me wet.