Funnel cloud

Our temporary living situation has yet to become very situated — it’s complicated — and we realized tonight we didn’t really have anything to make supper with even though the [small] fridge in the kitchen looked full.

So we went out to Ruby Tuesday’s, one of the few places in Grand Island with a gluten free menu for my wife. There were a couple of little cumulus towers trying to muster up an anvil when we left, but nothing to be really excited about. There were no warnings, or even watches, that I knew of.

The meal went a little long; the kitchen messed up the first plate of my wife’s food (added breaded onions which she can’t eat), and by the time we were halfway through the storms had mustered up a little umph. Another tower built very rapidly behind the stalled out first. As we ate, though there wasn’t must to be seen but the gray underbelly of a supercell. A few bolts of lightning zinged the countryside, but that was about it.

As I waited for the wife to finish her corrected meal I stared out the windows to the north. I saw a tail what was probably 3-5 miles north of us, though didn’t pay it much attention at first. There wasn’t anything that seemed to resemble a wall cloud from our vantage point. However, when I looked back it was more defined, and after staring at it for a minute was pretty convinced it was rotating.

As we watched it became more obvious it was a funnel. It never made it to the ground, but for about ten minutes became longer and more defined. My cameraphone didn’t record enough contrast for it to show up in a capture, but I’d called my sister (another storm fanatic, who had yet to see a twister) and from the south side of town she was able to get this video:


When it comes to my wannabe storm chasing tendencies, I’m not really all that interested in tornadoes. I’d much rather be fifty miles off of a cell, able to watch it grow, catch the light, pierce the cornfields with lightning. But tornadoes played an oddly significant role in my upbringing, and that does come through in my sculpture from time to time.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

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