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Breathtaking photos from Norwich storm-chaser’s adventure in US’s Tornado Alley

PUBLISHED: 08:39 26 June 2018

Twin landspout tornadoes near Seibert, Colorado, 28th May 2018 Credit: Dan Holley

Twin landspout tornadoes near Seibert, Colorado, 28th May 2018 Credit: Dan Holley

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While most run for shelter as a storm approaches, one Norwich meteorologist gets a kick from chasing them.

Rope tornado approaches us near Cope, Colorado?, 28th May 2018Rope tornado approaches us near Cope, Colorado?, 28th May 2018

Dan Holley has just returned from his storm-chasing trip to the American plains, which are often referred to as ‘Tornado Alley’.

The 27-year-old has been chasing storms for seven years and spends his time tracking and predicting weather patterns.

In this trip, Mr Holley travelled over 7,400 miles in 19 days and saw seven tornados, two-inch hailstones and heart-stopping lightning strikes.

“Storm chasing is essentially one big road trip, and involves a lot of patience initially, and then adrenaline - you spend some time each day waiting for thunderstorms to develop, and then once they do, you follow them for many hours, documenting them.”

Lightning as the sun sets near Slapout, Oklahoma, 12th June 2018? Credit: Dan HolleyLightning as the sun sets near Slapout, Oklahoma, 12th June 2018? Credit: Dan Holley

Mr Holley, from Norwich, this year came within 100 metres to a tornado, the closest he has ever been.

He said: “Thankfully it was a fairly weak tornado, but you could see small bits of debris rotating around its base before it dissipated as it crossed the road in front of us.”

The storm season in America spans over April, May and June and starts in the southern plains of America. Beginning in Texas and Oklahoma, the tornados drift north as the season progresses.

Mr Holley said: “This year has been rather quiet for tornadoes in the US.”

Twin landspout tornadoes near Seibert, Colorado, 28th May 2018  Credit: Dan HolleyTwin landspout tornadoes near Seibert, Colorado, 28th May 2018 Credit: Dan Holley

Mr Holley did not see any tornadoes until May 1.

This year he chased storms known as ‘super cells’ with two friends, Peter Scott from Brentwood and Berni King from Romford.

Mr Holley said:“(Super cells) are rotating thunderstorms, and can last for many hours producing damaging winds, large hail, very frequent lightning, and sometimes tornadoes,

“Mother Nature is a fickle creature, and you never know what she’s going to throw at you next - and it’s the unknown that draws you in to storm chasing, not knowing if today will be the day you see a tornado.”

Mammatus above our chase vehicle, 27th May 2018 Credit: Dan HolleyMammatus above our chase vehicle, 27th May 2018 Credit: Dan Holley

He said: “The two main things you need to be wary of are lightning, as that can strike some 10 miles away from the main storm, and also other vehicles as the roads can get quite busy with other chasers - especially if there aren’t many other road options.”

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