|STORM CHASING 2008
Storm Photography and Video by Martin Kucera
|Feb 12 & 13th - Severe storms erupted over south Florida
and the Keys during the past couple of days. A warm front passage on the 12th brought
numerous tornadoes reported in Cocoa Beach area and later at night on the extreme
south-west coast of Florida. Some damage to buildings and marina occurred there. I
watched frequent lightning in that area from my home in the Keys. Several severe storms
with tornado signatures repeatedly tracked near Chokoloskee, FL during the evening of the
Feb 12th. That night stayed quite busy for the southern Florida peninsula. There were
tornado warned severe thunderstorm cells from Palm Beach and points SW for several
hours. This was a good severe weather episode. It helped bring much needed rain for south
Florida and the Everglades. Florida sees most of it's severe weather and tornadoes in
February. On the 13th - a line of severe thunderstorms blasted through the Keys. A
waterspout was reported just south of Cudjoe Key. Later, another waterspout came ashore
as a tornado to produce some damage in Marathon, FL. These two days brought a
welcomed change to the local weather. We have had a benign weather pattern here in the
Keys for several months now. It is only a couple months before the Plains are going to get
busy with some amazing thunderstorms and I'll be traveling out there this year again. Last
year's trips were a great success.
This spring I have some exciting plans ahead when it comes to storm chasing and
waterspouts in particular.
I hope to bring more of the news on that here soon...
|Feb 26 - Several waterspouts occurred in the Keys within the past few days. Then the
much advertised strong cold front made its way SE across Florida. Nothing much to talk
about in a way of severe weather or storms down here in the Keys. I was getting excited
to finally do some lightning photography but the front let me down. Only a few distant
lightning flashes and the front moved through the area without producing any real good
looking thunderstorms. March is almost here and the weather pattern is going to change
very soon in the Plains, I hope to be able to fly out soon for some great supercell
chasing and photography.
|April 7th - Moisture starved cloud line trying to form over Key West, FL
|Florida Keys in April - this is one of the driest months in south Florida. But really great
things are going to start happening soon. Tornado season is here and waterspouts will
pick up on intensity in few short weeks. Preparations are in full gear.
This summer is going to be intense I promise..
|May 22 - Filmed a nice elephant trunk tornado that formed over the interstate 70 in
Kansas. Unfortunately it managed to turn a semi over into a ditch. One fatality
reported today caused by a very large tornado in north-west Colorado...
|May 23 - Another incredible tornado outbreak in Kansas today. Over fifty reported
tornadoes with many long tracked and destructive ones. The area of Greensburg,
Coldwater and Protection, KS that were hit hard last year experienced the devastation
again tonight. Numerous large tornadoes tracked through there just after dark... I
witnessed six tornadoes today, most of them of low contrast and wrapped in rain. This
was an intense 12 hr chase as I persisted till 1am when the system finally eased into a
squall line rolling through eastern Kansas. Spending a night in McPherson, KS.
|Vivid rainbow forms near departing evening thunderstorms during my last day in
Kansas a couple of weeks ago. Full account coming here soon. I have been
quite busy with planning a new waterspout project and waterspout /
lightning chasing so far this rainy season.
|June 11 - Wet season finally got going here in the Florida Keys with the
past few days being quite stormy. Early this morning a great thunderstorm
erupted over Florida Bay. I spent hours out there braving hordes of
mosquitoes again, their are on the increase for sure. Perfectly still Bay
waters provided for a nice reflection with numerous lightning bolts.
|June 23rd - We have had some great looking thunderstorms for several
days all over the upper Florida Keys. I managed to film a waterspout
near Long Key. There is a great nightly show over the Everglades
and that is where I travel today insearch of severe storms
and lightning. Hope the day is active.
|USS Spiegel Grove Dive brought us down to 118 ft this time around.
Diving this magnificent wreck twice a week these warm days - Spiegel
Grove is the largest artificial reef in the world at 510 feet long.
It sits at 130 ft. deep off Key Largo, FL.
|July 7th - One of the two earliest waterspouts I have ever witnessed - this
good one formed at 6:28am this morning just south of Islamorada, FL.
It sure was great to be up so early due to thunder & lightning
once again in a long while.
|July 7th - Large waterspout with a well developed spray ring just north
of Long Key, FL. Witnessed a dark spot & spiral stage from the top of
Channel 5 bridge before this large waterspout fully developed. The
waterspout rivaled the giant waterspout of June 24th from last year in
Marathon, FL there for a while before quickly dissipating. Later, another
solid waterspout formed and moved onshore in Upper Matecumbe.
One of the greatest days of waterspout chasing ever.
|July 27 - A great pattern has set up over Florida Keys during the past few
days. Good setup for numerous showers and thunderstorms has arrived
and may be here to stay for a while. I am really liking this typical summer
time set up. Very light winds, early morning waterspout producing
showers and afternoon lower Keys waterspout producing cloud line.
This is the most exciting time of the year by far.
I find almost no time to sleep with plenty to photograph
all day and night. And things are going to get even more amazing very
soon as I should completely devote myself now to waterspout chasing on
a boat, the next few weeks should be the peak for waterspout chasing in
Florida Keys. Hurricanes will be an increasingly real threat to Florida
Keys in the weeks to come as we near the months
of August and September soon....
|August 5th - Filmed a short lived, quite violent waterspout ripping a
boat's cargo into pieces just north of Lower Sugarloaf Key along with
Jim Leonard and a British film crew. The past few days have been
absolutely amazing when it comes to strong storms, frequent lightning
and waterspout chasing - perfect start for a month of August.
|Giant positive lightning bolt strikes near Tea Table Key in
Islamorada, FL on August 11th, 2008. Stormy pattern has
been lingering near the Keys for the past week bringing
spectacular waterspout chasing & incredible late night
lightning photogpaphy. One of the best nights for lightning
photography I have ever experienced in the Florida Keys.
Click on the above photo for a complete chase account.
|September 5th - Hurricane Ike has been approaching the general area of Florida Keys for the past
few days... there is really a good chance for a possible hurricane intercept early this upcoming
week. Ike could even be a major hurricane directly impacting Florida Keys. We'll have to wait and
see the exact track of hurricane Ike into late this weekend. Most likely there is going to be a
mandatory evacuation of Florida Keys residents on Sunday morning as a mandatory evacuation
of tourists and visitors goes into effect tomorrow morning. A land fall or even a close passage of a
major hurricane could have devastating effects on Florida Keys. Hurricane storm surge and
associated flooding could be especially bad. Most of the Florida Keys island chain is only a couple
of feet or so above the sea level. I am staying put here to document possible hurricane Ike land
fall in the Keys no matter what circumstances may arise. There is also a decent chance the
cyclone will track more southerly, this would spell trouble for Cuba in particular.
|Florida Keys waterspout filmed near Sugarloaf Key, September 17th, 2008
|Florida Keys waterspout in Islamorada, FL during dusk hour on September
28th, 2008. This waterspout was about five miles off shore on
the ocean side of the Florida Keys.
|Mature Florida Keys waterspout north-west of Islamorada, FL. Sept 29th, 2008
|September 29th, 2008 - Waterspout spray ring up close and personal while on
a boat. Notice the trail the spray ring leaves in its wake. Filmed near
Indian Key in Islamorada, FL.
|Florida Keys waterspout chasing on a boat this past summer. This photo was
taken while out on capt. Jack's fast boat in the lower Keys on August 6th,
2008, shortly after filming a large waterspout from boat and
airplane overhead simultaneously.
|All Images & Text