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Link - article by Avi Abrams, photography by Mike Hollingstead

The "Giant Wave" Supercell Pictures That Will Blow You Away

The results of the 2011 spring storm chasing season are in. Mike Hollingstead from Extreme Instability has been chasing storms for many years (his site is always a fascinating read for thrill-seekers). We featured his adventures before - see, for example, our article "Fog Storm Over Badlands". However this time, what you're going to see is going to blow you away - this is possibly the most epic sight on the whole Earth:

(image credit: Mike Hollingstead)

The collision of two supercells, resulting in the enormous "tsunami in the sky" storm front

With Mike Hollingstead's exclusive permission, we present to you June 19, 2011 McCook Nebraska Supercell:

Mike suggests playing "Exogenesis Symphony Pt 1: Overture" by Muse, while looking at these pictures... "If the storm could pick a song to have playing for it, it would pick that song.":

"I sat here just east of Alma NE and had my mind blown for 40 straight minutes, 10:35 to 11:15 before I had to even move again. It was still mind blowing through midnight." Then some soft clouds rolled in - "sorta like mother nature's blinds, partially open. See me, she says.":

Even if this thing did not produce tornadoes, it put itself right into the "Hall of Fame" of weirdest sights on Earth - read the whole story of storm chasing here

Here is how this supercell (or rather two separate storms) evolved:

One supercell (with beautiful tiered structure) being chased by the other... when two supercells collide, "they could be heading into crazy realms":

Once these two collided (partly merged, partly towered one over another), it produced a complex structure that "established its own vortex that didn't want to stop sucking up the stable layer below." -

During the next hour the otherwordly structure was still there, but it looked different - more like a stacked dessert cake, or some sort of a skirted mushroom:

"Still being an other-worldly sight. You really half felt, this thing is on the wrong planet right now."

What's perhaps the strangest if that smaller funnel clouds formed way up there, between the layers of the structure, some reaching almost horizontally into the "belly of the beast".

Other sightings of "giant wave-like supercell clouds"

Similar to the storm formation seen in Nebraska, this storm in Oklahoma has lightnings shooting from its "mouth". Photo by Mark Humpage:

(image credit: Mark Humpage)

Some of these storm fronts will be classified as shelf clouds, but they still look like weird upside-down ocean waves. Here is the incredible supercell, which occurred in eastern Colorado on June 10th, 2006 (top image):

(images via Martin Kucera, FloridaLightning)

Giant wave-like shelf cloud, seen near Sydney, Australia, during the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht race:

(image credit: Carlo Borlenghi, via)

Some of these supercell monsters have tentacles (or arms, called "inflow clouds") that reach out for you... This is Nebraska Sand Hills storm south of Valentine, July 13, 2009:

(image credit: Mike Hollingstead)

And finally, a powerful supercell as it towers up, resembles nothing less than a thermonuclear explosion (if mirrored vertically in Photoshop):





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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Picture #5 - is there any photoshop? In the middle clouds seem to have formed a word, resembling CLAW.

Anyone else see it?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ye i see it :D

Blogger JJD said...

Awsome post.
Excellent work!

Blogger Nadine May said...

Incredible pictures. Saw the word as well, but then I can always see things in clouds

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the Giant wave-like shelf cloud I just wish I could have been there to see it... :)


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