This Timelapse of American Thunderstorms will Blow Your Mind

August 03, 2017

While our thunderstorms here in the United States can be quite destructive, they can often be an epic display of beauty and power. Photographer Mike Olbinski spent three months driving across 10 states and over 28,000 miles to capture this breathtaking video.

Watch the video HERE

For Olbinski, it was not an easy endeavor. In his own words, “The work on this film began on March 28th and ended June 29th. There were 27 total days of actual chasing and many more for traveling. I drove across 10 states and put over 28,000 new miles on the ol' 4Runner. I snapped over 90,000 time-lapse frames. I saw the most incredible mammatus displays, the best nighttime lightning and structure I've ever seen, a tornado birth caught on time-lapse and a display of undulatus asperatus that blew my mind. Wall clouds, massive cores, supercell structures, shelf ended up being an amazing season and I'm so incredibly proud of the footage in this film. It wasn't the best year in storm chasing history...but I got to chase storms and share it with you guys. All worth it.”

He continued, “Supercell structure and beautiful tornadoes had been very hard to come by. In fact, the tornado in the opening of this film was the only good one I saw this entire year. I had been on the road longer than ever before. Driven more miles. I was away from my family for 12 straight days at one point, and when I got home, I had to tell them I was going back out 24 hours later for June 12th. It was just too good to pass up. It promised to be a day that I could get everything I had been hoping for this spring and I had no choice. My wife understood, even though I knew she wished I stayed home. And I wished it too.”

Storm chasing is not an exact science. It takes an educated guess as to where the best storms will develop and travel to in order to witness the best storms. You can travel for miles just for a storm to dissipate before you arrive. It took a combination of being at the right place at the right time combined with aiming the camera at just the right spot in order to get the footage.

In the United States, the best place for giant storms to form is in Tornado Alley. Tornado Alley comprises of states across the midwest and south where tornadoes most frequently form. Tornado Alley’s storms are caused by cold air from the northwest meeting with warm, moist air from the Gulf Coast. This unique geographical and meteorological combination found in the middle part of the country means that the United States gets more tornadoes than any other country in the world.