Amazing Culver City & Tescott, KS Tornado Time Lapse – 5/1/2018

Time-Lapse production of the of the Culver City / Tescott Kansas tornado on 5/1/2018 by Mike Olbinski.

Shot Description
The 2018 storm chasing season has been a tough one…long days with not much reward. But May 1st, was a different story. The day held a lot of promise for tornado potential, but I’m a photographer at heart and I was mostly hoping for some really good supercell structure when it had been challenging to find. We began the day near Russell, Kansas…and saw a nice storm fire up, then dropped south to another one west of Hoisington. This supercell was amazing, structure stunning. We kept up with it for awhile, but it seemed like maybe it would get ruined by a left split that collided with it. We almost dropped south, but changed our minds thanks to a phone call with my buddy James Langford who reminded me of some forecasting we had done in the morning. We caught back up with the storm near I-70 and raced ahead to Culver City where we’d get a nice view of the supercell structure for a bit before it got close.

But as we sat there…tornado sirens went off in town (which is what you hear at the start of the video). We noticed a wall cloud forming…and then a cone tornado dropped right before our eyes. I couldn’t believe my luck with time-lapsing it before it ever started. And then the tornado disappeared into the rain, only to come back out as a full wedge tornado that was later rated EF3. Watching it sping across the horizon was a moment I wont soon forget.

Luckily no one was hurt or killed, despite some destroyed structures. Very thankful for that…especially for one of this scale which was about a half-mile wide. We watched from Culver City, but the tornado passed very close to Tescott but far enough away to not cause major devastation.

It was an amazing moment, I somehow was lucky enough to capture the entire tornado lifecycle, from wall cloud, to cone, to wedge and then fading into rain where I believe it did die out at some point.

Best tornado footage I’ve captured on time-lapse and it’s the highlight of the spring so far!

Technical Details:
Two Canon 5DSR’s with Canon 11-24mm and 50mm 1.2.
Intervals: Every second
Music: “Combust” by Luke Atencio licensed through
Software: After Effects, LR Time-lapse, Premiere Pro, Lightroom

SID: Mike Olbinski

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