Storm chaser Mike Olbinski proved that you don't have to capture a tornado on camera to have an amazing video.
Olbinski was near Booker, Texas on June 3 when he and his weather-geek friend Andy Hoeland got video of a rotating supercell thunderstorm -- an elusive item on his "to-do" checklist for four years.
The two figured out early in the day that northwestern Oklahoma was the spot to begin.
"We landed in Denver that day around 10:30am, and drove and drove until we got that storm," Olbinski said. "We actually had no idea we had made it to Texas until a bit later."
But at first, they ended up on the wrong (north) side of the storm. "It took us going through hail and torrential rains to burst through on the south side (where wall clouds are more visible)," Olbinski wrote on his blog documenting the event. "And when we did…this monster cloud was hanging over Texas and rotating like something out of Close Encounters."
The video is shot in four parts as the two had to move to better position themselves.
"One thing to note early on in the first part is the way the rain is coming down on the right and actually being sucked back into the rotation. Amazing," Olbinski wrote. "A few miles south is where part two picks up. And I didn’t realize how fast it was moving south, so part three is just me panning the camera to the left. During that third part you can see dust along the cornfield being pulled into the storm as well…part of the strong inflow. The final part is when the storm had started dying out and we shot lightning as it passed over us."
In between shots, it got a bit harrowing.
"Between the third and fourth portions we drove through Booker, Texas where tornado sirens were going off…it was creepy as all heck. And intense," Olbinski wrote.
The storm never did form an actual tornado, surprisingly, but Olbinski didn't mind.
"No, there was no tornado. But that’s not really what I was after," he said. "I’m from Arizona. We don’t get structure like this. Clouds that rotate and look like alien spacecraft hanging over the Earth.
"I love it the way it is. I wasn’t ever certain I’d see structure like this even though it’s been such a goal of mine. But we did it."
If Olbinski's name sounds familiar, you might have seen his time lapse work of dust storms in the Phoenix area, like this one that went viral two years ago: