Lonely Planet Writer

Greetings from Tornado Alley: storm-chaser shares breathtaking photographs of extreme weather

A storm-chasing photographer has shared a beautiful series of images showcasing the raw power of nature, including shots of a churning tornado across the prairies of Kansas, lightning strikes near Bowie, Texas and a gigantic tornadic supercell spinning above the highway.

A low-precipitation tornadic supercell spins like a top near Leoti, Kansas.
A low-precipitation tornadic supercell spins like a top near Leoti, Kansas. Image by Mike Mezeul II
weather photography
“The Beauty and the Beast”, a shot five years in the making showing a model standing in a field watching a tornado pass by rural Kansas. Image by Mike Mezeul II
Storm Chaser Photography
A barrage of lightning strikes down simultaneously near Throckmorton, Texas. Image by Mike Mezeul II

The images were captured by Mike Mezeul II, a photographer who is no stranger to travelling to get the perfect shot, and whose past work includes stunning pictures of lava flowing in Hawaii beneath the milky way. “I have been chasing and photographing thunderstorms for the past 16 years now. I started the day I got my first set of car keys and never looked back. I don’t think that I choose the locations, nature does,” Mike told Lonely Planet Travel News.

Weather Photography
An EF-3 tornado churns across the prairies of southwestern Kansas near Dodge City. Image by Mike Mezeul II
A cloud-to-ground lightning bolt strikes out ahead of a supercell thunderstorm near Wichita Falls, Texas.
A cloud-to-ground lightning bolt strikes out ahead of a supercell thunderstorm near Wichita Falls, Texas. Image by Mike Mezeul II
Storm Photography
Mammatus clouds hang from the sky at sunset after severe thunderstorms moved through Allen, Texas. Image by Mike Mezeul II
A storm chaser stands in a field near Cheyenne, Wyoming watching a tornadic supercell approach.
A storm chaser stands in a field near Cheyenne, Wyoming watching a tornadic supercell approach. Image by Mike Mezeul II

Mike spends time searching for interesting conditions along the Texas-Mexico border, and up to North Dakota in a region known as Tornado Alley. The work requires a lot of time and a substantial knowledge of the atmosphere and the ingredients needed to create storms. “I originally pursued a degree in atmospheric science, but changed majors halfway through. When out there chasing, you have to approach each storm with an attitude of knowing that anything is possible, but most of all, respect. One wrong move, one wrong decision and it could be game over,” Mike said.

Storm Chaser Photography
Crepuscular rays beam down as a supercell thunderstorm with a wedge tornado underneath drifts across southwest Kansas. Image by Mike Mezeul II
Weather Photography
An incredibly close lightning strike near Bowie, Texas Image by Mike Mezeul II
Storm Chaser Photographer
A tornado crawls out of the rain in the Oklahoma panhandle. Image by Mike Mezeul II

Mike’s work has amassed him close to 50,000 followers on Instagram, where he frequently shares images of beautiful natural locations all around the world, as well as city scapes and urban scenes. More of Mike’s work is available on his website and his Instagram handle is @MikeMezPhoto.