"Plains Gone Wild" 2004 Chase Video

  • Thread starter Mike Hollingshead
  • Start date

Mike Hollingshead


Well I think I finally have this DONE. If you order and I run into a
problem making more DVDs I will have to say I'm sorry but there will be no
refunds as I will just go jump off a bridge. Just kidding of course. I'll
refund before I jump. There shouldn't be any probs though as I've made a
ton already and am having no problems. JINX!!!! (squared away the source
of all my problems to a dirty dvd player #%#@$@#$)

About the vid. Every year from here on out should look to 2004 for the
standard in which springs should come in. If we could see "2005" and it was
an object I bet it has this most evil grin. 2004 takes the cake! A year
where you can royally screw up a ton of days and still blow away any
expectations for any perfectly chased year....crazy. With this years video
I tried to fully capture the best days of the year and leave all the other
non-2004-standard storms out. Not because I wanted to, but because I didn't
want more then a 2hr vid. It would be wrong to sacrafice tornado footage to
squeeze in some 'normal' chase days.

Chases covered:

May 16 Holt Co. Nebraska tornadoes: Compact beasty HP tracks ne and
produces a tornado just west of the road after all lightning activity
DIES...after being a CONSTANT lightning producer(one long roll of thunder as
it approaches). This storm had a perfect "donut hole" with the rfd. Nice
motions with wrapping rain curtains before the main tornado occurs. When
tornadogenisis occurs I wasn't exactly expecting it anymore, and it was just
off the road in the field about 1/8th mile. It appears the RFD being
infront of it actually pushes it a bit west from where it first forms. That
or the parent circulation skinnies up. It just seems alot closer when it
first forms.

May 22 eastern NE monster supercell: This storm formed near Columbus and
rides the warm front east. You can imagine it's potential on the warm front
when you look what storms not on the warm front were doing. It was never se
vere warned I do not believe after it first went up. I think it's first
warning was a tornado warning. The radar of this event/storm is really
pretty insane. Just as it'd get a strong hook it'd have to eat a storm
infront of it. A little storm would pop up and disrupt it just enough. You
could watch it quickly reform and hook I think 3 times between Columbus and
Blair each time having to eat new convection infront of it. Had this not
been happening I'm fairly certain there would of been a long tracked tornado
very near or in town after town down highway 30....including my home town!
I think every town from Columbus to Blair reported baseball or larger hail.
I decided to stay west of the meso as it was just so amazing to look at.
Problem was getting inside the precip/hail wrap to see. It wanted so badly
to put a big one down so you had to be inside the hail enough but not under
the thing. After the structure dissapears behind precip you can see high
speed scud going around the circulation just off the ground with the rain.
I couldn't believe the people driving into that scene..lol. I was
like....best of luck in there!

May 24 Chester Nebraska tornadofest: I stayed on the highway south(81?)
for this chase taking in tornado after tornado. Part of me wishes I had
tried to get closer to one or two of them but when you see 3 going on at
once you quickly realize it might be a bit trickier then normal to get
close. The longest lived tornado is rather cool towards it's end. It just
sort of looked like smoke that seemed like it was hardly able to hold
together. I didn't see the 15 or more tors some saw, but am still not
certain how that is. There are 6 or 7 on this segment though. This
includes the last one where apparently there is another in the shot I had no
idea of! Another site points it out. Only in 2004....lol.

May 28 nc to ne Nebraska LP beast: The, "what the hell" storm.
http://www.extremeinstability.com/stormpic.../04-5-28-18.jpg And right after
that I think the general comment will be, "what the hell". A freaky inflow
machine. Wind screaming through the electrical wires and this flat
smoothing going on of the clouds forming from the extreme inflow. Freaky.
And it appears to be dumping this precip in this perfect wall for some time.
Never seen anything remotely like this. The storm was on this steady state
growth cycle. Like it was growing at all times until it had to start to bow
out at Sioux City. Great chase day.

June 10 Big Springs Nebraska: I talked too long at the North Platte
library, blowing off that storm for a bit too long....like all but the last
30 seconds of the tornado too long.

June 11 nc Iowa tornadofest: Not to complain after getting 5 tornadoes,
but ain't there a rule against tornadogenisis at 1pm? I missed the best tor
of the day(#1) by 40 miles or so. Got tors 1,2 and 3(excluding what I
missed of course) from a few miles away. 1 was a nice white tube, 2 an
elephant trunk, and 3 a large brief touchdown(vid is far from great on all
these 3). 4 was a nice spoutish tor west of Ft. Dodge a few hours later. 5
was the main tor I caught this day. This was south of Ft. Dodge. There was
this really long line of weakish convection that seemed to go ne-sw forever.
I wanted to get to tail-end-charlie but there was always something new! The
4th tor slowed me down as it seemed like anywhere in the line would do. I
think if there is VERY dry air in the mid-levels you can get some "strange"
things. After the 4th tor I just wanted to look for any "kinks" in this
line so I meandered around on dirt roads south of Ft. Dodge as the line was
barely moving. Finally one forms. Shortly after a dust whirl forms that
I'd normally insist was a....well...dust whirl, gustnado. This is happening
right around the 1 square mile grid road to my north. Right above this
whirl a tiny white funnel pokes out briefly. The cut/kink continues to grow
above and the whirl gets more and more intense with NO funnel at all for the
longest time. It tears something up before crossing the highway east. The
cut is really cool to watch as it cuts very hard back to the west, north of
the now funnel. Below the funnel the vortex at the ground is quite intense
with crazy multiple vorticies tearing things up. Got some zoomed in footage
from within a mile. Then this thing really smacks some outbuildings and
fills the air with debris. I set the vid cam down to shoot some stills
quickly and this short time frame is the only point condensation fully
contacts the sfc..
http://www.extremeinstability.com/stormpic.../04-6-11-17.gif I now wish I had
kept videoing that part as conditions for good stills sucked with all the
precip. Video during that part would of been very sweet as the lower vortex
when it would condense was doing some really cool things...
http://www.extremeinstability.com/stormpic.../04-6-11-15.jpg It briefly got 4
or 5 individual funnels splitting and spacing themselves perfectly..this is
on vid but the contrast wasn't that great so it's hard to see, but can be

June 13 Alvo Nebraska mean supercell and tornado: Didn't want to use
beast again, but beast probably works better then mean. This was truly a
crazy storm to look at. It looked like it wanted to come to life and just
start killing things. Like it was sent from hell...lol. The intertwining
of the tornadoes is cool. There were 5 or so subvorticies that touch down.
The one decides to stick right where it is all skinny like, while a 2nd and
3rd go across it heading south. The 2nd one slows up and the 2 are ongoing
right next to each other and when the 2nd comes apart you can see somehow
there were 2 intertwined in it...seriously intertwined. You can watch them
come apart as it dies. How exactly they can intertwine like that I haven't
a clue.

July 12 Bartlett Nebraska Tornadoes and BIG Supercell: I'm getting really
sick of typing this. http://www.extremeinstability.com/04-7-12.htm
Insanity at it's finest. 2 tornadoes and a true MONSTER supercell. Likely my favorite catch of the year. Maybe my best tornado footage. It was very backlit leaving the early funnel looking very black. The tornadogenisis is probably the best part as it goes on forever and not in an entirely typical fashion.

August 26 Coin Iowa Tornadic supercell: I replaced the Mullen gust front day and that evenings electrified North Platte supercell with this August day in IA as it seemed like a no brainer to do so. If anyone really wants the Mullen event let me know as I can just burn the old DVD. Anyway, the Coin Iowa storm was a beautiful supercell. Semi gets blown over minutes before I get to the area. The storm begins to rotate rather hard sending a very intense RFD west and south. I'd estimate the winds on the interstate at least 60mph out of the east just behind the meso. It soon puts out a torando to the north of me as I go east and at the same time a new very large and intensely rotating wall cloud forms right infront of me. I record the wall cloud instead of the tornado as it was just that cool. This area soon puts down many odd white vorticies that only condense right around the ground for the most part. Meanwhile the supercell shows amazing structure with a beavertail stretching east for miles. The whole scene just seems wrong as nearly all the lightning activity is WAY downstream popping away out of the anvil...the storm was highly sheared.


Me too!

Me Too!! I was very interested in see how that Alvo supercell looked like from your vantage point. I was in Lincoln on that day and I saw a super long inflow cloud band and very little of the actual wall cloud base. I did see the back side of it and that monster was really rotating!! I did get some great photos, probably my best shots of the 2004 season so far.

Thanks. 8)
Ordered last Monday and received it Tuesday! The kids and I have watched it 3 times already, and we’ve had a busy week. My wife even had good comments about it! I love the line by the guy in the red truck “better take coverâ€￾ there’s tornado sirens blaring in the background and Mike H says â€￾ya, I’ll take coverâ€￾ then a quick switch to him sitting in the car in the middle of a rain core! Hilarious! It was also nice to see the Alvo, NE multi-vortex tornado that I just missed. :cry:

Nice job on the DVD Mike, it played flawlessly.
Thanks for the kind words guys. I'm glad you enjoyed it. If anyone was trying to click that link and it's not working, that is because the host is currently down. It should be up and running again soon I hope.
Incredible DVD

I don’t buy many chase videos, not because I don’t like them but because I like them too much and they make me miss chasing. Not good for SDS flareups. But there’s a handful of videos which are essential, however, and Mike Hollingshead’s “Extreme Instability IV: Plains Gone Wild†tops that list in 2004. Mike experienced one of the top seasons of all time in terms of stunning storm structure and amazing tornadoes, both in quantity and quality. What’s remarkable here isn’t only the sheer number of tornadoes but the perfect contrast and backlighting in which almost every one appears, and in every shape and size imaginable: cones, tubes, trunks, snakes, ropes, and wedges. You could chase ten years and not collect so much great imagery. This DVD is an instant classic.

“Plains Gone Wild†begins with an introductory barrage of supercells, violent tornadoes, and breath-taking structure that announces an awesome collection is imminent. It does not disappoint.

Mike’s May 16th footage is funny and dramatic as he patiently suffers one local after another pulling directly in front of his shot and asking questions. The storm pays off handsomely with a several touchdowns including a violent elephant trunk and huge meso that looms over the road directly ahead. May 22nd includes impressive structure and damaging hail.

May 24th opens with a spectacular shot of the long, translucent cone near Chester, with other mesos in the shot soon producing their own photogenic cones and tubes, all perfectly backlit, framed in green rolling countryside and an eerie quiet as finally three tornadoes spin in the distance simultaneously. Eventually a giant cone approaches Mike’s position escorted by a massive plume of dirt, debris, and condensation, the tornado shifting shapes and sliding from one edge of the frame to the other. From such a peaceful vantage point, you would never guess this was one of the biggest chase days of the year as Mike seems to have this prolific tornado-producer all to himself. A tall stovepipe grinds the landscape as a few cars pass and beep their horns. On this day, Mike captures tornadoes that snake and cone and twist helix-style with almost perfect visual conditions and very few interruptions from locals or other chasers.

May 28th features one of the most remarkable storms in years. This segment begins with the strongest inflow I’ve seen in person or on video since May 29, 2001. The early rain free base on this storm is unreal! It morphs into a highly sculpted meso that looks more like an artist’s depiction of a supercell in clay than a real thunderstorm. This is a shocking image. I mean it’s one of the most visually dynamic supercells in recent memory—this storm alone is worth the DVD. What a perfect machine. South of Sioux City, this storm grows detailed banding and begins to resemble the May 27, 2001 haboob in Kansas (recall Bobby Eddins’ classic panorama). Mike follows this video with a series of still photographs that evoke even more of this cell’s singular beauty. Intense still images are scattered throughout this video and the photographer’s skill is well-known.

June 11 in Iowa features a long white cone strikingly similar to the famous Mulvane tube due the next day. Mike catches another tornado near Emmetsburg and then a third that extends from a long, columnesque mesocyclone. Later, a long needle drills the Iowa landscape and spins peacefully while rain curtains wrap the bear’s cage. Another cool tornado near Ft Dodge spins larger and larger as Mike tracks it less than a mile away. This tornado remains on the ground a long time as a white funnel points to debris swirling at the surface. While the tornado approaches Mike’s car, the violent circulation is documented in crisp detail—this is a nasty tornado.

On June 13, Mike catches a supercell that twists like some giant coil extending into space, more like a tornado too massive for ordinary humans to perceive rotation than a regular supercell. This cell has a menacing, other-worldly structure and forms a huge meso with tornadoes dancing around the perimeter, appearing from the camera’s perspective to circle one another in a sort of ritual conjured by the chirping birds and peaceful ambience of Mike’s isolated location. Where are the chaser hordes? Where are the blocked ambulances and vicious reporters waiting to pounce? Mike avoids them somehow and still finds storms that make you wonder if you chased the same planet he did this season.

July 12 brings another mammoth supercell near Butte, Nebraska. Naturally, this storm drops a perfectly backlit tornado that Mike is waiting for, camera tripoded, engine running. The zoomed detail of this tornado is great, interrupted only by the inexplicable honking of traffic zipping past—as if he doesn’t see what he’s filming. Another tornado forms in the center of a mesocyclonic carousel of condensation and then fills to a symmetrical tube that sits still as the world spins around it. This is among the best tornado footage in many years as Mike captures both the formation and surrounding of this cool tornado, then pulls back to contextualize it within the giant parent storm.

I think the details speak for themselves here. This is an essential video that you'll watch again and again. My hat is off to my friend Mike for a brilliant 2004 campaign and a DVD worth twice the price.

Amos Magliocco
There's one word I'll use to describe the latest installment of Mike Hollingshead's "Extreme Instability" series - spectacular! The title "Plains Gone Wild" is quite the appropriate description for 2004 and the apparent never-ending tornado season. Mike's own description of this year was that you could screw up countless times and still have a career year, and upon watching this video, it's quite obvious that Mike did indeed have a career year.

With "Plains Gone Wild," Mike stepped up his editing skills in order to showcase the dramatic supercells and tornadoes he caught throughout the Spring season. And to show just what an incredible year it's been for Nebraska, out of the nine chases featured, only one took place outside of Mike's home state. There's an incredible amount of footage of structure and tornadoes on this DVD - so much that there's no way I could ever describe it all in detail here, so I'll hit on what I consider to be the high-points.

The introductory music video is top-notch with appropriate music and some dramatic scenes that lead into the 5/16 Holt Co., NE tornado chase. This supercell was a beast and produced at least a couple of nice tornadoes before what I consider to be the most dramatic footage from the day. As the cell cycled, Mike set up extremely close to the new wall cloud (not as close as the bunch nearly under it though) and filmed some very intense motion over the road just before the storm produced a large multi-vortex tornado. Mike also had to deal with some residents this day who kept pulling into his shot causing him to miss at least one brief tornado. I would've been extremely perturbed, but somehow, Mike managed to actually stay calm during this ordeal.

Moving on to Mike's 5/24 Chester, NE chase, numerous tornadoes are featured, including some close shots of his fourth tornado. This tornado was really quite a sight to behold with the vast amounts of motion noticeable in the condensation funnel and the way the dust just seemingly fell away as it transitioned into a picturesque rope - really beautiful footage.

Next up, the 6/11 Emmetsburg/Ft. Dodge, IA storm and tornadoes (Mike's only non-Nebraska chase featured). This was another day with multiple tornadoes, but the footage of the Ft. Dodge tornado is arguably the most dramatic featured on the video as he was close enough to this strong truncated cone to observe trees uprooted and tumbled about before it became wrapped in rain.

Mike's become known for his July catches in Nebraska, and the July 12 Bartlett, NE storm has to be at or near the top of his list. This was another beast of a storm with some breathtaking structure. My favorite portion of this day includes the scene of a gigantic meso with rapid motion as it produced an intense stovepipe. This tornado grew quite large and just seemed to be perfectly balanced as it churned along with cloud tags rotating around it and some interesting processes taking place in the lower portion of the vortex - truly remarkable stuff.

All of the above, combined with gorgeous structure time lapses from the other days featured and the appropriate inclusion of Mike's photography throughout makes this one video certainly worth purchasing.

For more information, visit Mike's video page at:


Jason Politte
Conway, AR
I've seen most of Mike's stuff by now ... I've probably seen most of Mike's stuff more than once or twice or three times ...

So when I read all of this hubub online about this video I was like - 'what more could there possibly be?' I thought I had seen it all.

I'm not real big on reviewing everyone's video out there - but I just had to say something about this. This thing was SLICK - as in TOP NOTCH. Very well edited - and it really doesn't get any more interesting! Almost addicting - I've watched it like three times this weekend - what's up with that?

These storms were mesmerizing, and I saw plenty of them this year myself. Mike - you really outdid yourself this time. Loved the addition of the intro screen for DVD ... that scene under the meso carousel with a tornado smack in the middle is just hypnotic. I mean - how often does something like THAT come along for a chaser?

Really terrific. This was just the right length too ... not too much of the sideline stuff that loses peoples' interest ... it was just all about massive, exciting, powerful supercell storms in the plains. I honestly can't say enough good about it -
I recently received my copy of Mike Hollingshead's EI IV Plains Gone Wild. The 2004 version of
Mike's EI series is the best yet. For those of you who may be new to chasing or are thinking
about making a highlight video yourself, I highly recommend this video. It's a great standard
to learn how to make a quality chase video. Mike put in a lot of effort into the production of
EI IV and it paid off with one of the most professional looking chase videos I have seen to date.
For the rest of you chasers, I recommend it because there is not a minute of this video that
goes by where I didn't find my eyes glued to the TV. Another great feature of Mike's video is
the display of his fantastic still photography that he incorporates at the end of each event

Mike was there for some of the big days of the year. His May 24th chase provided incredible
footage of one of the most prolific tornado producing supercells in the last few years. His
best chase of 2004 quite possibly could be June 11th near Ft. Dodge, IA where we gets some upclose
footage with insane motions. Another great day for Mike would be May 16th in Holt County, NE.
Some comedy is added to this day with a local parking in front of his camera while he is trying
record the tornado. Also an interesting segment from this day is when the tornado decides to chase
Mike for a moment.

After the chase tourists have come and gone for the year, Mike is one of the few hardcore chasers
still out there doing his thing during the summer months. He is becoming famous for his late
season catches and does it again this year. Most notable would be his July 12th Bartlett, NE
chase. Of the handfull of chasers that caught this storm, nobody captured this day as well as

For more information concerning Plains Gone Wild go here:


Well done Mike. Congrats on a fantastic 2004!
Awesome Awesome Awesome

Got it, watched it, loved it. Even my daughter was entranced with it. Makes me long that much more for my time to prowl the plains.

Exceptional job Mike!!!! 8)
Just watched "Plains gone wild" and I now want to move to Nebraska. :wink:

Mike certainly had a great year and captures it very nicely here.

My favorites have to be the Alvo, NE storm from hell. What a tortured look! and dancing ropes that appear to do a braid at one point.

Also the Bartlet, NE storm which as Mike puts it is "insane" with multi-layered bases coming together in the middle followed by a wonderful cylinder. I'm glad Mike found a south option when a second tornado forms to his west with bad news approaching from the north. I was getting nervous, just as though I were there with him.

That's the best thing about this DVD. Your there!
A great SDS treatment and well worth getting.

There's plenty more as mentioned by others and all put together very well.
Great job Mike!
Got to watch Mike's video, great stuff!
Alvo, NE WOW!

Learned 2 things while watching this video:

1. Baseball sized hail is cool as long as someone else is driving through it.
2. If you run into Mike while chasing your supposed to pull up and stop in front of his camera :lol:

"better take cover dude!" still laughing at that one.
What can I say that hasn't already been said about this video?

The June 11th and July 12th video is fantastic. I can't believe I didn't chase those days.

I think the highest compliment I can make is that the video made me sick to my stomach. I know I'm greedy but hate missing spectacular events!

Great job Mike!

Scott Currens
What a chase season you had Mike! Those 'mother ship' mesos were amazing! And that long lived stove pipe tornado was incredible.

You know you're a gonzo chaser when you're passing the Tornado Intercept Vehicle on the way to a storm! Awesome!

This is an expertly produced DVD that everyone must get!

Good job Mike!
Have yet to watch it, but thanks for the brilliant service arrived today in the good old UK
Watched it this morning. Incredible and I have to admit that the production was superb,the soundtrack coming in with a good selection of music that enhanced watching it.
I got my copy back in August and loved it. I still watch it constantly, as its the best piece of chase footage I own now. Everyones already commented on just about anything, so I'll keep it short...but I would surely recommend this!
I just got my copy a few days ago and watched the first four scenes before having to go to the World Series. (sorry Mike!)

Awesome, awesome, awesome. If a guy had pulled up in front of my camera and told me to take cover, I would have told him where to take himself.

But then, that would have had to have been bleeped out.