Tags archives: thunderstorms

  • Wheat and What Destroys It

  • Every year, hail and thunderstorm winds do millions of dollars in damage to crops across the nation's breadbasket—much of it wheat, and much of it in supercells.  Fortunately for the owners of this field, the dark, messy, heavy-precipitation (HP) supercell shown here slid just a few miles to the west and north, sparing this [...]
  • Spotlit LP on the Great Plains

  • While observing a closer, more precip-dense supercell from its inflow region, another storm of low-precipitation character floated past in the opposite direction that was marvelous in its own way.  Double the fun!  This storm plied the southwesterlies just outside the shadow of its larger neighbor for about half an hour afte[...]
  • Anvil Shadowing Altocumulus

  • A small patch of altocumulus (Ac) is bisected by an anvil shadow from a supercell.  The Ac was moving rapidly from sunlight into shadow, which was SSW-NNE.  Storm observers can use cloud motions at different levels to get a rough idea about the wind shear.  In this case, I could tell there was good shear from the eastward sp[...]
  • Turquoise Core

  • To create this effect in thunderstorms, sunlight refracts through tens of thousands of feet of rain, hail and wet convective cloud mass, filtering out reds and leaving greens and blues.  The green hues preferentially exit areas of heavy precipitation with large drops and hailstones.  Aside from the potentially flooding rainf[...]
  • Downward-Pointing Crepusculars

  • We often see crepuscular rays with an apparent upward aim.  In this case, the chunky young anvil from a nascent supercell spread across that part of the sky containing the sun, part of which can be seen through a hole in the cloud.  As with other crepusculars, the rays actually are parallel, but seem to spread away from each[...]
  • Electric Loop

  • During the trip to see the total solar eclipse, and on the day we left Oklahoma, I closed out a fine travel day by intercepting an elevated, nighttime storm over the Platte River.   It prolifically flung cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-air lightning, including countless loops from cloud to air to cloud, of various sizes and shap[...]
  • Between a Mesocyclone and a Tornado

  • The rising dust under this ragged but rapidly rotating wall cloud also was moving around in a closed circulation—just not as visually intensely as the clouds above.   If I had to guess, it was near the margins of the lower EF0 wind threshold of 65-mph three-second gusts, but of course this storm did not have a mobile radar o[...]
  • More Truck-Stop Thunder

  • A needed respite from the road turned into a marvelous electrical show in the sky outside a northern Oklahoma truck stop.  Several magnificent discharges split the rainy sky before the responsible elevated storm raced off to the east-northeast and weakened.  Looking at this alone, one wouldn't guess that feet behind me sat a[...]
  • Moon through Anvil

  • One fine evening in Scotts Bluff National Monument, after presumably its last lightning activity, a weakening supercell floated overhead, its anvil translucent to the waxing moon.  The surrounding landscape of sandstone and ash bluffs took on the blended hue of refracted moonlight from above and town lights of Scottsbluff an[...]
  • Brycebow

  • Retreating storms cast both a rainbow and darkly textured background past the warmly lit orange stone walls and pillars of Bryce Canyon.  The same storms had passed over the park midday to mid-afternoon, running a lot of people back into cover and thinning the crowds considerably for the onset of late-afternoon "magic hour" [...]
  • Thundering Gallup

  • One electrically bereft storm passed east-northeastward across the desert landscape north of Gallup, offering a tasty-looking pastel sunset.  The next storm in the line produced a lot of lightning, mostly buried deeply in heavy rain, as with the faint strokes in the middle background.  How glorious it was, then, to catch two[...]
  • Tornado without Funnel

  • The supercell already had offered a pleasant dose of high-based scenery two hours before, and a gustnado near a previous mesocyclonic occlusion in the intervening hour.  Although the southeastward-moving storm remained high-based as it approached the Richland/Piedmont area, we surmised that it might have one brief shot at a [...]