|STORM CHASE 2009
Storm Photography and Video by Martin Kucera
|All Images & Text
|February 18th - Another Florida wet season is only a
few months away and my preparations for the most
intense season yet are well under way. Have been
working almost daily on my waterspout intercept
boat. Hoping to have everything ready to go by
Spring break time which is just around the corner.
Amazing new plans in the works when it comes to
waterspout chasing this upcoming Summer season.
In a month or so, the Alley will most likely become
a bit more active so I hope to be able to make several
good expeditions to film awesome thunderstorms.
Here in the Keys we had a line of severe storms last
week pass through. Couple of small but intense
supercells moved near by complete with amazing
radar signatures. That has been just about it for
now. Can't seem to get much decent moisture
down here these days... but what can you expect
in February. Although it should be the most active
month for severe weather and tornadoes in Florida.
It has also been quite cold with temps reaching
as low as 41F on one particular night here
in the upper Keys.
|Space Shuttle Discovery STS-119 Launch - northern horizon
as seen from Florida Keys on evening of March 15th, 2009.
Space Shuttle Discovery was clearly visible - 226 miles
away - launching into the evening sky just moments
earlier, leaving only this glowing plume
of exhaust gases behind.
|March 18th - Quite an active day for March here in the Keys.
Numerous waterspouts were observed today along the Keys
island chain. This was the first significant waterspout day of
2009 and I managed to film a long lived large funnel cloud
that formed over the US 1 highway near MM 72. The cloud
base rotated clearly in view directly overhead. Eventually
the entire waterspout became visible, complete with a nice,
distinct spray ring. The waterspout dissipated in heavy rain
about 20 minutes later after showing some violent motions.
|March 21st - Today was the third day in a row that
waterspouts were reported along the Florida Keys island
chain. I caught a nice waterspout over Florida Bay just north
of Islamorada, FL (photo above). It was getting chased by
a very healthy rain curtain for a while until the waterspout
dissipated. The top photo shows view of Florida Bay from my
workplace about half an hour before the waterspout occurred.
|Lightning intensive thunderstorms on April 14th as seen
over the warm waters of Gulf stream which usually sparks
the lightning activity further. This was the first great and
long lasting lightning display of this year. Something about
second week in April, we always get a lightning intensive
thunderstorm episode during this time. In fact as I have said
elsewhere - the best lightning night I have ever experienced
here in the Keys occurred around April 9th and 10th of 2006.
Notice the fishing rod sitting on the rocks in the foreground...
|The past week or so has been nothing but much welcomed
rainy weather for most of south Florida and Florida Keys.
I've been on a lookout for waterspout activity but it simply
did not happen with this area of low pressure passing by.
The system did not disappoint with it's daily show of strong
to severe storms over southern Florida peninsula. One night
in particular brought a round of rather strong storms here in
the upper Keys and I was on a lookout for positively charged
lightning discharges that night. Full account on here soon...
Also, The Waterspout Research Project of 2009 starts
in just about a week ! More details here as the
expedition evolves into it's early stages...
|Florida Keys Waterspout Outbreak - May 29th -
Early this morning I filmed two mature waterspouts
and observed three more smaller ones associated
with a robust cloud line near upper Keys.
More details and a full chase account soon...
|June 2009 - Waterspout Research Project - intercepted
numerous waterspouts during the first week of June.
So far, the second week has been a bit slower with
moisture and instability near the Keys lacking...
|June 14th - Waterspout Research is getting into it's third
week with four more waterspouts intercepted this evening.
Overall weather pattern is slowly improving after the second
week being quite slow and uneventful. Also, incredible
lightning show occurred tonight as an outflow boundary
collided with an existing cloud line near the lower Keys.
|Incredible night time waterspout illuminated by lightning
bolt I filmed just north of Key West, FL on June 18th, 2009.
The waterspout formed dangerously close to numerous
sailboats anchored in the mooring field just off Key West...
|Positive lightning strike over Florida Keys on June 17th, 2009
|Giant positively charged lightning bolt, also know as a bolt
out of the blue strikes near Islamorada, FL on July 12, 2009
|Currently in St. John, U.S.V.I. for a couple of weeks. Hoping
for some storm chasing / filming down here. The above is
view from the place I am renting. Hopefully I can get some
good lightning photography opportunities in coming days.
That's Tortola, B.V.I. at the very top of the photo above...
|"Baths", Virgin Gorda Island, British Virgin Islands
|Florida Keys Waterspout Spray Ring near Lower
Matecumbe Key, FL on August 6th, 2009
|Florida Keys sunset - Islamorada, FL - August 2009
|Florida Keys Backcountry Flats during Summer of 2009
|Lightning strike over waters of Florida Bay just north of
Craig Key, FL on August 31st, 2009. This year's wet
season has been quite frustrating with minimal lightning
activity occurring in the upper Keys. Waterspout chasing
has been very difficult with low quality air mass present.
With moisture starved atmosphere or filled with Saharan
dust on many days... waterspouts have been few to film...
The only notable events occurred on June 5th in the lower
Keys; on June 15th a large waterspout formed just north
of Key West and finally on July 25th a large waterspout
managed to capsize couple of boats just off Marathon, FL
|Florida Keys Positively Charged Lightning Bolt near
Long Key, FL on September 2nd, 2009
|Florida Keys Waterspout Spray Ring near Long Key, FL
on September 3rd, 2009. Image from video.
|Mature Florida Keys Waterspout near Islamorada, FL
during early morning of November 4th, 2009.
|Incredible day with numerous rotating thunderstorms near
Florida Keys. Very strong storms woke me up at 5am with
nearly continuous lightning and thunder. This shelf cloud
rolled through the Upper Keys around 1:30pm followed by
another round of strong storms and very heavy rains for
the rest of the evening. Cooler days ahead of us for a while.
|Strong thunderstorms moved through Florida Keys on
December 18th, as the SPC had us under a slight risk and
a tornado watch for the most of the morning. Numerous
cells were showing signs of rotation. The one in photo
above came very close to producing something truly
spectacular. It clearly had a persistent meso with visible
rotation in lower levels while staying quite compact for
nearly an hour. Video of this thunderstorm is amazing,
especially considering it's mid December. We might be
lucky to get more thunderstorm activity next week or so.