Tornado - July 26, 1997

I've chased storms for years, and had never seen a tornado. On Saturday, July 26, 1997, my daughter and I went out to take sunset pictures. We got an extra bonus. This tornado touched down one mile south of Pipestone, MN. These photos are taken from about 5 miles west of Luverne, MN, 25 miles to the south/southeast of Pipestone. Here are 3 of my 11 photographs.
 

What I started out photographing was this lovely sunset. This was a tiny little thunderstorm, which all of my experience told me not to worry about.

But notice the heavy rain shaft on the right edge of the picture. Then the itty, bitty wallcloud just to the left of the rain shaft.

I'd chuckled and called it the "Little Wall Cloud that Could", just because it was so little. But, I guess...it really could! Because soon........

...Soon there was a funnel! Actually, I didn't get a picture of the early funnel stage, which lasted quite awhile. It just seemed to hang there for several minutes as we drove along a county road.

Then the funnel started to lengthen.

This photo was taken with a zoom/telephoto lense. I'm about 25 miles away.

This stage only lasted a few short minutes. But I finally got to see a tornado, and from a very safe distance!

For my meteorologist friend in Mankato, hope you enjoy these pictures! I stumbled upon this quite by accident. Maybe the trick is to pretend you don't want to see a tornado, but rather are out looking for a sunset :)