The 2019 Monsoon Storm Chase | Incredible bolts to end the season and lessons learned | Part IV

The close of the 2019 monsoon season for me was an eventful one. Two of my best lightning days happened towards the end of the year which I think can be attributed to growing comfort and experience with the monsoon chasing experience.

It is funny that, after nearly 20 years of chasing, the monsoon season is so vexxing some days. In many ways its relatively straightforward, but it requires a complete mental shift away from the plains chasing mindset. You don’t target where storms form but rather, where you think they’ll be at sunset. Even then, those targets are relative and subject to change with conditions. Models are a bit less useful, and generally knowledge of the pattern in combination with knowledge of the local terrain features and observed conditions pre-storm are much better tools.

Still, this first season was a success in many ways, especially considering that next year, there will be more successes with experience. I can’t wait. Now let’s move to Spring of 2020!

The 2019 Monsoon Storm Chase | The Cloud-To-Ground Lightning Heats Up Edition | Part III

Chasing with friends always makes chase days better. As Titan Eugene Thieszen arrived in the southwest for his shot at some monsoon chasing, it was my hope that the atmosphere would cooperate and provide us with some beautiful scenes. Thankfully, it did just that with Gene in the area!

This summer was a giant learning experience and these days are no different. It was cool seeing so much electricity but getting close lightning bolts with storms without getting a ton of rain on the lens is something I want to work on in 2020. Another area to improve on is shooting more video, especially stabilized video attached to the car around storms. There were several moments we missed out on some incredible content (August 6 at El Morro there were several big strikes of lightning we couldn’t get).

Thus, Part III is all about the successes but also we look back on this part as a good time learning how to chase a new pattern with friends. Hope you enjoy!

The 2019 Monsoon Storm Chase | In Search of Thunderstorm Electrical Discharges | Part II

The first few weeks of the 2019 monsoon were just a primer for the heart of the season. As my first season of living in the Southwest US continued, I was taking a lot of hard lessons to heart. It seemed that as I learned, the misses on epic lightning continued to mount.

When it comes to monsoon thunderstorms, there are some key differences in chasing them versus storms on the plains. First, they don’t last nearly as long. Targeting where a storm is results in getting blasted by outflow as the storm dies. At that point you typically have to turn around and go back where you came from to wait on storms. Chasing east of storms works sometimes, other times…not so much.

And most of all, when it comes to capturing lightning its all about the instability. In part II of the 2019 monsoon storm chase, we continue to learn lessons in seeking out lightning from thunderstorms of the monsoon in New Mexico.

The 2019 Monsoon Storm Chase | Beautiful Skies, Incredible Scenes | Part I

The monsoon season in the Southwest US is one of our favorite patterns to chase. Its way more relaxed than supercells on the plains but oftentimes just as breathtaking and awe-inspiring. Did we mention the photography is amazing?

These storms are of a different breed. They’re born from moisture residing over a hot desert surface. When the sun heats the surface, especially along/near mountain ranges, storms form. These storms present an incredible photography opportunity in the deserts, especially around sunset.

This was Sanner’s first season in the desert and this is their story about the 2019 monsoon season in New Mexico!