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Gorgeous Electrical Storm over Pass-a-Grille

Posted on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 5:00 PM MST

ST. PETE BEACH, FL -- The winter storm chasing season got off with an early bang at Pass-a-Grille Beach. The season started early this year, thanks to El Nino being firmly in place and blowing severe weather into west-central Florida. A massive low pressure system formed off the Texas coast and, combined with a cold front, headed for North Florida. Tornado watches were up all over the Florida Panhandle and gradually moved east, south, and north as the day progressed.

Looking at the weather models, I decided to target the area between Redington Shores and Indian Rocks Beach. Everything appeared to be in place for an intercept there just before sunset, so I hit the road at about 4:30 to make sure I got up there in time. Unfortunately, while I was driving up, the front stalled just the slightest amount, so I was at Indian Shores well before the front got there. I continued north to see if I could pull off an intercept at Clearwater Beach. Sadly, there was no severe weather near Clearwater, only rain.

Later in the evening, Pinellas County was put under a tornado watch, and south Pinellas went under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning between 8 and 9. After I left Beef O'Brady's, I headed for Pass-a-Grille to re-attempt the intercept.

I set up on the beach near 15th Ave and captured some great pictures of the lightning coming ashore, the first time I successfully captured lightning with the still camera. The intercept was a complete success, and I was able to escape before the rain came. It turns out that the cell that was severe warned hit the Redington Shores/Indian Shores area, but I was happy with the shots I got from Pass-a-Grille.

Posted In: Chase Recaps

Tagged: Lightning