|CHASE ACCOUNTS OF 2006 SEASON
Storm Photography by Martin Kucera
(c) 2006 - FloridaLightning.com
|September 4th - Stormy skies everywhere you looked. The beginning of September
brought numerous days like this one. If you put the two pictures together it would make
for a nice panorama shot. No severe weather that I know of occurred with these storms.
|September 2nd - A strong thunderstorm
over the waters of Florida Bay brought many
intense lightning strikes before sunset.
|August 22nd - A long lived persistent
funnel cloud that had all visual clues of a
waterspout formed over the Florida Bay
about three miles north of Islamorada, FL
and lasted for a bit more than ten
|August 14th - An area of intense thunderstorms developed over the extreme south Florida and moved into the Florida Bay and the Keys at
about 6pm. Although the intensity and lightning activity quickly diminished while the squall line was approaching the Upper Keys it was still
quite a show to enjoy. It was one of the most photogenic shelf cloud formations I recently remember here in the Florida Keys. The squall
line passage was followed by heavy rain and very gusty winds, of course. Unfortunately this squall cooled down the local area
considerably so no more thunderstorms followed for the remainder of the night. For those I had to travel (successfully) to the Middle and
Lower Keys where the storms were later ongoing for the rest of the evening and the night. Check the 2006 lightning accounts for more.
|July 22nd - An amazing summer time thunderstorm formed over the waters of Florida Bay and produced plenty of magic. Bright and vivid
daytime lighting bolt, some of them I noticed were positive and quite dangerous and constant thunder all accompanied this strong storm.
Finally to my disappointment the thunderstorm went linear, eventually gusted out and dissipated. One of the best visuals of this year.
|July 21st - A rainy day with a lot of moisture and haze in the air brought a nice waterspout and later even a stocky funnel cloud. The
showers and thunderstorms were just everywhere you looked and the pick was not easy on what to follow. The skies cleared up nicely
after midnight so I took the opportunity to shoot more starry night sky images.
|July 19th - The past several days were quite frustrating. Being middle of July, one of the most active summer months there is not a whole
lot I can write down here about thunderstorms, lightning or waterspouts. A lot of days with decent looking updrafts but the cloud bases
just simply rain out minutes later. The action seems to be weak for now. Finally, after two days non-stop trips to the Lower Keys and Key
West I was able to photograph was I would describe as the smallest waterspout I have ever seen. Nevertheless It was a beautiful, fully
developed waterspout with a spray ring. The beauty of it was that the waterspout formed underneath the base of a single cell
thunderstorm just north of Key West. It was the only thunderstorm in the area and it just kept building for long minutes while raining out
at the same time. I kept starring intently underneath the base until I spotted a light colored slim funnel and a second later a beautiful
spray ring on the surface. The waterspout's proximity to the heavy rain shaft next to it is amazing as well. The waterspout lasted only a
couple of minutes. Several minutes later the thunderstorm matured and displayed many strong lightning strikes. Thunder literally shook
the ground in nearby Key West. By sunset it was all over and I was on my way home again. The very first photo is not that of a waterspout
single cell thunderstorm. It is a small but photogenic storm I was able to photograph on my way to Key West in the early afternoon.
|Florida Keys Moonbow - What is a
moonbow ? It's the interaction between the
mist (in this case from a dissipating
thunderstorm over the Atlantic ocean)
refracting light from just the right angle of
the moon. The basics are pretty much the
same as with a rainbow except bright
enough shinning moon replaces the Sun in
this case. This is the second time I was able
to observe a moonbow in the Florida Keys.
|July 11th - A lot of moisture and low
clouds in the area for most of the
day. Some storms formed later at
night but real surprise was a rare
moonbow shortly before sunrise !
|July 10th - First photo shows a late sunset waterspout followed by a positive lightning strike over the same area of Florida Bay in the next
photo. Later that night....an intense thunderstorm developed over the Middle Keys and persisted for more than an hour. It produced
very frequent and vivid lightning bolts followed by anvil crawler later in the early morning. The mosquitoes are starting to be pretty bad.
|July 6th - A quite photogenic shelf cloud moved NE over Middle and Upper Keys just before dark. The lighting conditions were not ideal
but still what a great encounter for the Keys. Most of the great looking shelf clouds associated with cold front passages during winter
months usually wash out over central Florida and hardly ever make it down here to the Keys. I was surprised how long the shelf cloud
persisted for and it even got better after dark - I had a couple of very close encounters with nearby lightning strikes. So close you
could see the "beads" falling on the road next to my car. Unfortunately very heavy rain prevented me from any photography attempts.
|Later that night.... Moon came up while the shelf cloud was passing by my house followed by the lightning show. Several hours later the
sky clear up so nicely you could see millions of stars. I don't ever recall seeing the night sky so bright and vivid. That was a long day.....
|July 3rd - Another relaxing day around the water. Spent most of the day shark fishing (catch
& release, of course) and watching the nearby storm over the Florida Bay. Later in the
afternoon I made it to Marathon, FL following an outflow-dominant small storm. It died with
sunset as the heating of the day was lost. An aggressive Black Tip Shark above left.
|July 5th - Photographed a rare non-supercellular tornado over Everglades back-country. Could call it a landspout as well. Later in the
afternoon a round of intense storms blew through Miami and surrounding areas. Small hail, frequent lightning and a lot of slow moving
|July 1st - A very short but nice lightning
show over the Florida Bay
|July 4th - A surprising early morning large
funnel over the Upper Keys. Bad visibility.
|June 30th - A period of several non-significant weather days. Just drove around looking for interesting sights. These are the "tropical
days" here in the Florida Keys when there are no storms. At least it is not so hot down here thanks to a nice daily ocean breeze.
|June 26th - Widespread strong storms have
been causing local flooding in the Keys and
south Florida for several days now. I
managed to capture a close lightning bolt
over the Florida Bay. The larger photo is in
the Lightning Images of 2006.
|June 29th - Photographed a waterspout just
north of Key West that developed ahead of
some very strong thunderstorms that rolled
right over downtown. This is going to be a
great year for waterspout and lightning
|June 29th - Made a day trip to Key West and Zachary Taylor Beach. Observed a long lived cloud line although it
was rather high-based. Later in the afternoon a strong storm developed over the Lower Keys and rolled through
downtown Key West producing frequent lightning and a nice shelf cloud. We also photographed a single cell
thunderstorm east of Key West during dust. Unfortunately only several lightning strikes occurred with it.
|June 28th - A rather small but very interesting thunderstorm developed just off shore near Grassy Key. I zoomed in on it and
photographed several nice features like a pileus cloud and strong repeating updrafts. The storm kept on going for nearly an hour before
finally dissipating. It also produced a brief funnel that I observed from Curry Hammock State Park in Middle Keys.
|June 22nd - A cloud line over the Seven Mile Bridge in the Middle Keys can be seen in the first photo.
The second photo shows a well developed CB tower within a cloud line in a process of raining out.
|June 25th - Another round of night storm -
this time around Middle Keys. These storms
moved in rapidly and brought quite a punch.
|June 24th - First account of 2006 Florida
Rainy season lightning - over the Atlantic
ocean just south of the Upper Keys.
|May 22nd - Multiple waterspouts near
Middle Keys along an outflow boundary and
a nicely developed cloud line lasted well into
the evening. The boundary moved off of the
Florida mainland and kept progressing
south-westward triggering new updrafts and
many waterspouts. I did not follow the
boundary due to bad lighting and just stayed
in one spot focusing on recording the event.
|The 2006 Tornado Alley Trip is completed.
Click above for complete accounts and
photographs. I guess I can say we took
some loses and spent much time
wondering why this year's severe weather
pattern is that bad. I also hope that
Florida's storm season (in progress) is
going to offset the severe weather drought
we experienced during this trip.
|May 16th - The scenario did not work out the way it was expected. But that is a beauty of the nature. We
had a tornado watch posted for much of south Florida and the Keys, a nice outflow boundary moved
through here from the large thunderstorm complex in the Gulf but in the end the show was quite poor.
The whole thing turned into a widespread rainy mess with minimum amount of lightning.
Click above for photos.
May 15th - Widespread strong thunderstorms moved through the south Florida and the Keys today and
another round is expected tomorrow. I've been tracking these storms non-stop for 18 hours straight
now and certainly will continue tomorrow. Update with photos to be added here no later than
|April 25th - What a nice day off spent on a
six hour kayaking trip exploring the Indian
Key, pristine mangrove tunnels and
Full report coming in couple days.
|May 12th - Cold front passage brought several very nice
looking updraft tower within a line of showers. The top
middle photo shows a funnel cloud that persisted for
couple minutes before dissipating. No lightning
observed. Hazy condition provided for not so ideal
|April 10th - The past three days brought
persistent severe weather to south Florida
along with much needed rainfall. I spent
two days shooting lightning around the
Florida Keys. I also witnesses one of the
best lightning displays ever.
|tower, sheared anvil and mammatus
Other than that the weather is more
vacation-like with beautiful blue sky and
nice white puffy clouds... click the
images above for larger preview.
|April 9th - There is a slight chance for
severe weather over south Florida
Especially in the afternoon hours
associated with a cold front passage.
|April 6th - A three day trip to Key West, FL and surrounding sights
brought a lot of interesting experience. It is getting quite hot down
here and we could have a stormy weather episode once again on
Sunday and perhaps Monday. Click above for sample images from
Fort Jefferson National Park and a sunset sail trip.
|March 16th - Unfortunately not a whole lot
happening in south Florida as of right now. I
remember some previous seasons much more
active this time around - so far the cold front
passages have been quite lame. Two years
ago we had some small Supercells with
tornado warnings all over the place in
February and March as far as I recall.
Worth noting is the Missouri tornado outbreak
on March 12th. Poor storm spotters, chasers
and residents in affected areas - the individual
cells were moving at about 55-60 mph. I can
imagine you would have a hard keeping up
with them on the interstate. My heart goes out
to those affected and lets all hope there is no
fatalities to be reported the next time around.
It is a really hard job to predict or warn people
in a similar situation. Storm like these in early
Spring literally rip though the communities
without a decent chance to warn the people.
There is ongoing plans for the annual Tornado
Alley Expedition, of course. Depending on work
plans we will end up going just around the end
of May - for about two weeks this time around.
And then, in July I hope I'll be able to go to
Arizona for the first ever lightning trip during
their monsoon season. That should be a very
interesting trip - for about another two weeks
where I'd be living in a tent with nightly travels
to the peaks to observe and photograph
Well next time here I believe I'll finally bring
some fresh lightning photographs of 2006....
|March 23rd - A cold front brought a lot of severe
weather tonight. Two tornadoes were reported
near Ft. Lauderdale, FL shortly after 3pm.
Key Largo had a severe T-storm with small hail and
gusty winds. I was finally able to pull off a couple of
decent lightning images. Most of the strikes were
intra-cloud or obscured in heavy rain.
|February 26th - yet another cold front moved
through here today but this one was not as strong
as the last one. Only widespread showers occurred
this time. No lightning or hail to report.
|February 4th - A strong cold front made it's way all
the way down here to the Keys bringing very gusty
winds, frequent lightning and heavy downpours.
|January 13th - The first quite interesting cold front
of 2006 just passed through bringing heavy
downpours and some distant lightning activity.
Click on the pictures above.
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(c) 2005 - www.FloridaLightning.com
|October 23rd - Cold Front Passage Photos.
Click above for more...
|August 20th - Incredible lightning show
happened tonight and I'd certainly say it
was the one of the best as far back as I can
For more detailed account - click on the
|A weak and this year's only notable
tropical storm Ernesto passed directly
over the Upper Keys. Quite uninteresting
system added nothing exciting to this awful
storm chasing year. Click above for
complete account and photographs.
|Sept 5th - The
the most of
Not much in a way
of severe weather
but rather a long
|September 11th - Numerous funnel clouds
occurred within cloud lines surrounding the
Upper Keys. Filmed about six funnels and
two unconfirmed waterspouts. Click above
|September 16th - Unreal lightning
experience again tonight over the Atlantic
ocean just south of the upper Florida Keys.
|September 19th - A weak "pre-season" cold
front is passing through the Florida
peninsula this evening, bringing along some
nice lightning, rough seas, gusty winds and
|September 22nd - A tornado outbreak in Missouri and Illinois. Waves of supercell
thunderstorms developed across Missouri and Illinois during the afternoon and early
evening hours. Numerous reports of tornadoes and large hail were relayed by public and
trained spotters (yet have to see the photographs).
I made a short trip to Illinois myself and can report heavy traffic and a very bad road
network in the outbreak area. That has got to be the worst part of the central U.S. to chase
thunderstorms and tornadoes. But it is well known already... the storms were a messy and
disorganized bunch, except for a gorgeous supercell (picture above) south of St. Louis,
MO, which lasted till sunset and provided for an excellent photo opportunity.
September 23rd - The overall severe pattern looked lame this morning so I paid Chicago,
IL a visit and ended up on top of the Sears Tower. While up there, an intense looking
frontal boundary moved through downtown Chicago and swallowed the Tower whole.
People up there seemed to be freaked out a bit...
Flying back home to Florida tonight...
|November 15th - Cold front brought an
amazing lightning show... A barrage of five
positive lightning superbolts happened at the
end of it all. Click above to see more photos
at the bottom of the 2006 Lightning Gallery
|December 17th - A funnel cloud formed within fast moving showers today - almost over
the islands. It dissipated only minutes later.
|December 25 - A strong cold front brought
intense thunderstorms, heavy downpours
and frequent lightning strikes after a longer
period of unusual warmth here in south
Florida. We intercepted the pre-frontal
squall line in Key West, FL and kept
on with it all the way back to the Upper Keys.
|A year full of surprises, ups and downs is finally over. The 2006 spring
season brought plenty of good severe weather to the Florida Keys. I spent
many days photographing vivid lightning displays into late morning hours.
One of the most notable events occurred during the second week of April.
The month of May brought the only interesting waterspout event to the
Upper and Middle Keys. An outflow boundary progressed south-west
triggering numerous waterspouts along the way. As for the annual Midwest
trip this year - it was a total and a complete let down. No notable events
occurred even after we extended the trip to nearly three weeks in length.
Only the great supercell of June 10th in north-east Colorado made the trip at
least partially worthwhile. And the hurricane season of 2006 brought a
Tropical storm Ernesto as the only notable but incredibly weak tropical
system as far as I am concerned. Overall, 2006 was not a good year at all.