SUNY Oswego Storm Chasers photos from Kansas featured on The Weather Channel

On their first day searching for storms in the nation's heartland, a group of 16 Junior and Senior meteorology students from SUNY Oswego hit a storm chaser's jackpot.

They watched as skies darkened, and a funnel formed over an open field in Kansas.

The Weather Channel says the tornado formed in the countryside about 8 miles north of Bennington and moved south toward Salina.

Dr. Scott Steiger, Associate Professor of Meteorology, is leading the student storm search. In an e-mail update sent to the CNY Central newsroom overnight, he was excited to tell us pictures his students took were featured on The Weather Channel.

"It was quite an experience as we watched this storm from cumulus cloud to raging tornado. Thank God it just hit an open field," Dr. Steiger wrote.

Other storm-enthusiasts were following the tornado as well.

In this video captured by, shown on The Weather Channel's website, you can watch as the thin funnel morphs into a much larger vortex.

The SUNY Oswego team left on Tuesday, taking two vans equipped with radar and GPS tracking systems. They will spend the next two weeks in the nation's heartland, monitoring weather conditions to decide where would be most favorable for storm development.

You can follow the students' journey through