SPECTACULAR images show a year in the life of a storm chaser featuring giant supercell storms terrorising the skies over Tornado Alley.
Chad Cowan, 33, from Kansas, US, has dedicated his life to documenting America's extreme weather following twisters and dodging lightning strikes in his chase truck.
Along with stunning pictures, Chad also creates time-lapse videos of massive supercells – slow-moving megastorms from which all tornadoes are formed and which also unleash lighting, hail and deadly winds.
The filmmaker told The Sun Online that his favourite supercell of this year, which formed in South Dakota in August, resembled a menacing alien spacecraft.
He said: “My buddy Dustin and I found a great vantage point to the east of it and watched in awe as it drifted very slowly towards us while strengthening.
“The storm structure looked like something out of the movies, like what one might imagine an alien invasion to look like.”
But despite the destruction which storms can cause, Chad insists the most treacherous part of documenting them is keeping your eye on the road.
He said: “The most dangerous part of storm chasing is the driving, statistically speaking.
“Storms and tornadoes are relatively predictable, slow to evolve and usually easy to see coming, unlike other drivers.”
The adventurer also admits that the unpredictable nature of electrical storms, which are go hand in hand with extreme weather, frighten him more than the twisters themselves.
Chad said: “I have a healthy respect for tornadoes but I'm not afraid of them.
“Lightning, on the other hand, scares the hell out of me. You can't see it coming, there's no warning, and it can reach out and get you almost anywhere around a storm.
“There was a storm chaser who was struck by lightning back in May in Oklahoma.
“He was very lucky to survive as he took a direct hit from the bolt which shredded his clothes and knocked him out of his shoes and down the side or a hill.”
While many storm enthusiasts heavily modify their cars during the “chase", no-nonsense Chad simply covers his truck in a special bed liner which protects against hail stones.
Chad documents extreme weather in America's Tornado Alley – a loosely defined area which stretches from Texas in the south all the way to North Dakota in the north.
But, this summer the adventurer travelled to Florida to experience deadly Hurricane Irma – which killed at least 134 people.
And the videographer admits storm chasers face a “moral dilemma” hoping for storms to form which could eventually “destroy” lives.
He adds: “It took a while to come to terms with this within myself, but I came to realise that there is nothing that I can say, do, hope, wish or pray for that will change what the weather does.
“And due to our actively pursuing them, storm chasers are often the closest people around once storms impact towns and are able to render aid quicker than others when the victims are at their most desperate and in need of help.”
To check out more of Chad's incredible pictures and footage, visit his website StormLapse.com.
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