After going to the Plains this spring I’ve managed to spend many waking hours thinking about going back. It’s the tornado itself that gets much of the glory, but the supercell thunderstorm is perhaps one of nature’s finest masterpieces. The videos I’ve compiled here, after hours of sorting through examples on the Web, are all about structure. You won’t find any tornadoes in the bunch — there is a funnel cloud or two though! Even without the raw violence of a twister, the enormous power of these storms in evident throughout. Each is beautiful in its own way.

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July 13, 2009 AMAZING Supercell Time Lapse from hillnado57.

Having made our “catch” of the chase 2011 in the area this was taken, the terrain has a special place in my heart. SD/NE is perhaps some of the prettiest of the Plains. First, there’s lots of bubbling and boiling clouds as the storm matures, and by 1:30 in we’re off to the races on superb structure. Multiple striations and a big fat inflow tail. After 2:45 it’s just insane inflow. What a storm…

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Montana Supercell Thunderstorm from Cameron Redwine.

This is from a pretty good distance (or at least stays that way), and if it were not for the camera shakiness it might be near perfect. The first two-thirds feature un-obscured structure before lower clouds fill in toward the viewer into the end. Still, it’s pretty awesome. The music? Not as sure.

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March 30, ’08 Cordell, OK Supercell Time lapse from jmchaser.

This looks like a pretty elevated (high cloud base) supercell, as even the lowering is way above the ground. The risk of a tornado might have been somewhat minimal compared to storm with clouds closer to ground, but at times it sure looks like the rain shaft tries to rotate to the surface! Undoubtedly, if this was a higher quality video it would be several fold more awesome than it already is.

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The Storm from Chad Cowan.

This is just pure awesome. I may even argue it’s cooler than seeing a tornado! Ridiculous storm motion all over the place and a high quality camera. Mmmm.

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Timelapse d’une Supercellule by lacaille71

I watched this one more than once before including it here. Not sure I love the angle and the camera quality is not amazing either. But, it’s somewhat unique of the group in that it stays steady on an approaching storm from afar. Particularly in the second half the motion of the whole cloud mass is pretty incredible.

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Super Cell Time Lapse near Council Grove, KS from Z S K.

I remember watching this one on radar from home after returning from the Plains. It was one of those “extreme instability” beasts. This view is from a good distance, and the contrast of a setting sun provides a spectacular look at the multi-contured structure of the storm.

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Timelapse of LP Supercell (7-14-11) in Northwestern SD from TheScoof.

This one starts slow but as you get past the one minute mark it picks up considerably. If only the horizon was straight and the camera did not get occasionally jostled throughout. About 1:30 is when it gets really sweet. If you’re going to “luck out” with high based activity, you want to hope it’s like this.

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Saskatchewan Supercell Thunderstorm Timelapse from dannybrown126.

The contrast is poor but it’s short enough you don’t have to think about it long and the second half has some truly stellar structure! Barber pole!

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Supercell Thunderstorms on 35mm from StormStock.

This one is a compilation. I particularly like the first minute as shot from a distance — a beautiful stacked mothership, and as it gets closer you can see the rapid rise of clouds venting into the atmosphere. Shortly after closeups, there’s another stunning supercell shot of an approach from a distance. Perhaps the most stunning storm of the group pops up around minute three. I could do without all the timestamps and watermarks but this is quality stuff, so I can understand the need…

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Texas Supercell Time Lapse and Hailstorm from hillnado57.

What a pretty and developing (note the increased inflow as it moves toward the camera) supercell. It looks rather high-based and not terribly threatening, but it’s still rather lovely with an apparent hail core also more visible as the storm progresses (seen after the first minute of time-lapse).

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Supercell Crazy by Stephen Locke from Stephen Locke on Vimeo.

Another compilation sequence. It first features several nice storms approaching the viewer. There’s a bit much editing at times but it’s not enough to make it unworthy of sticking it through to minute one when a gorgeous distant sunset supercell seemingly spins in place while spitting out lightning bolts all around. The videographer then gives several views of the storm and it’s magical display.

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September 1, 2010 Barton County, KS supercell time lapse from StormChase.TV on Vimeo.

This one is short and it’s not particularly stunning photography. But the motion and structure is brilliant, particularly during the first sets of scenes.

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Clinton OK Mothership Supercell 7-12-2010 from Casey Zandbergen on Vimeo.

This supercell has a classic appearance as it nears the viewer. Initially it is bathed in a sweet evening light and after the first minute it features some pretty quality close up views. Don’t wander off at the 2 minute mark because there’s a pretty neat view of the rounded edge bringing pitch black above yet sunny skies on the horizon.

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supercell time lapse from rdtonyy.

This storm has beautiful structure and it’s unique in the group as to the direction it’s rotating (clockwise). Maybe “down under”? I wish it was a bit longer…

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Tornadic Supercell Timelapse Video – Nickerson, Kansas from UltimateChase.

A nice striated and compact mothership heading right toward the camera from the distance! In addition to the motion of the storm itself, there are vorticities visible along the cloud base and attendant wall cloud. Another that’s shorter than I wished for, but too good not to include!

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July 20 Kansas Tornado Warned Supercell Time Lapse from hillnado57.

Roger Hill has more entries into this post than anyone else and for good reason! This is a beauty showing the life cycle of a tornado warned supercell in Kansas. It’s got it all: from close to wide views and some super structure, especially in the second half.

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