What's the most beautiful tornado you've seen/witnessed?

I was just sitting here thinking about all of the tornado pictures and video I've seen in my lifetime and noting several stick out as being absolutely gorgeous. Like great magnificent sculptures, tornadoes are often very visually appealing.

My two favorites are Al Pietrycha's (I hope I spelled his name right) May 1996 Seward County, KS white tornado and Jim Leonard's May 3, 1999 "white tornado". For some reason or other, I must be attracted to the white colored tornadoes. LOL. Al's was a gorgeous white cone (at that point in the video anyway.....later became more a reddish-brown trunk as it moved off into the distance). It also had a very low hanging equally white, ragged wallcloud. Seeing the two spin in the video is simply breathtaking. And of course I'm sure everyone has seen Jim's video. That white tornado and the amazing updraft were something! I think it was the updraft that made the video look so incredible, more than the actual tornado.

So with that said, what are your favorites? It can be one of your own or someone else's.

As may be the sentiments of many chasers and observers on the field, the Mulvane Tornado of June 12, 2004. Not only was it spectacular in grace and beauty with the backlighting effect, nearly every chaser who videotaped this event was able to capture it in all its glory. I too share the same sentiment for backlit tornadoes.

Another gorgeous photo is of a tornadic waterspout. I am unsure of the date and time of this but it is a white cylindrical tube, bent slightly at the top with an ominously dark, almost black background. If I remember correctly in the photo there were observers watching this. If anyone has a hint of what I am referring to, I would appreciate a reference.
Ahhhhhh yes, Mulvane. How could I have forgotten that one? That tornado meets all my definitions of gorgeous! Hehe. And not only was it beautiful, but graceful as well.
My faves:
+ June 12th, 2004 - Mulvane, KS
+ May 12th, 2004 - Sharon, KS
+ August 9th, 1999 - Cleveland, MN

I've lover the pics from May 29th, 2004, southern KS supercell tornadoes, but I wasn't there so I didn't count them...
Cordell, OK. Roger Hill's last tornado June 23, 2002 in SD at sunset.....GOD. Last Chance CO. Spencer SD. MN helicopter tornado video. Brady NE.

Wow! That's certainly as nice as Mother Nature creates them. Nice, smooth funnel. Beautiful blend of colors. Sure hope I can someday have something like that posing for me in the viewfinder.

The pic from Cordell is one of the coolest still out there ... very Wizard of Oz ...

My favorites are Roger Hill's SD tornado at sunset - it will be a long time before any of us find anything to rival it. And Jeff Piotrowski's footage from Brady, NE ... as the tornado moved over a resevoir and picked up water and took on that incredible barber poll appearance.
Cordell, OK

When I saw the heading for this the first tornado that I thought of was that infamous Cordell, OK tornado. I think just about any avid storm chaser out there can picture that tornado in their heads.

On a personal level, the most beautiful tornado that I've seen was one of the tornadoes I witnessed near Centerville, South Dakota on June 24, 2003. Those tornadoes brought back memories of tornado pics from the May 5, 1993 event.
For me it's obviously this one (at this point I don't think this one needs any introduction)......


The most spectacular one I had seen before that was one I saw in CA in 1988....a backlit, laminar high contrast elephant trunk. My dad did get some pictures of it - but somehow the film he had in the camera had already been used by people we didn't even know so all the pictures came back double exposed.
The May 29, 2004 Attica tornado is getting all sorts of love. The Conway Springs tornado of the same day was incredible as well, solid black against a deep orange sky. I still curse myself for screwing up when photographing that one (the light was really difficult to work with). The video is amazing, at least.

Missing the Mulvane tornado on June 12 really hurt, though. I should have extended my season a couple of weeks and hopped in the van with Eric and Scott, but I pretty much called it quits after May 29. D'oh.
The most picturesque tornado that I have personally witnessed... I'll probably have to go with Attica/Crystal Springs 5-29-04... followed closely by the tornado from the next meso near Freeport. Before May 29th.. I'd have to say the tornado near Pratt on 4-14-01.

My favorite tornado of all time, if I were to label such a thing... in terms of violence and beauty all packaged in one: Last Chance, CO 7-21-93 vidoegraphed by Bill Reid.

Mike U

May 29, 2004 near Jamestown, Kansas. This was not the biggest, most destructive or longest lasting tornado I've seen but I like the slender curved shape and dark background. From a distance, it appears "graceful." Of course, no tornado is if you are on the ground in the tornadic circulation.

Bill Hark
Of the ones I've witnessed, I'd say that the tornado northeast of Jamestown, IN on 4/20/04 is towards the top of the list for me. Nice backlighting and very graceful motion.

[Broken External Image]:http://www.fredmiranda.com/hosting-data//4451/26780jamestown1-small.jpg

There was one tornado in particular on 5/24/04 in southern NE that could have been a scene right out of the Wizard of Oz. Unfortunately I don't have a very good quality still photo of it, just wide-angle vidcaps.

Of the ones I've only seen pictures/video of, my vote for most beautiful tornado is Cordell, OK 5/22/81. The video of that tornado is breathtaking.

My first and best was Throckmorton, TX on April 7, 2002. It's more sentimental than anything. The tornado went the gauntlet from wedge to stovepipe to a beautiful rope in the span of about 20 minutes. I have good pictures but I'm slow with HTML so contact me if you'd like to see them and I'll send them via e-mail.

EDIT: I figured it out.
[Broken External Image]:http://weather.ou.edu/~aatkins/tornado.jpg
[Broken External Image]:http://www.tornadochaser.com/photo/andoverter.gif
Looking SW from Andover, KS — April 26, 1991 — video by Earle Evans
I had to mention this video in particular, because in it the tornado is displaying the most incredible motion and rotation I've seen in any tornado video. In a similar league is the N Minneapolis, MN, tornado of 7/18/1986.