Clouds in Wyoming that were captured on video revealed how a supercell forms. The incredible group of clouds look like a giant tornado as it moved eastward.
The photo was taken by the Basehunters storm chasers group, who are “committed to capturing the most unique and close-up tornado footage on the market,” according to their Facebook page. It shows the rotating updraft of a supercell thunderstorm over eastern Wyoming, according to Weather Channel meteorologist Jon Erdman.
The gathering storm may be a visual treat for those watching from the comfort of their desks, but supercells can be extremely dangerous for those on the ground. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, windspeeds within and prodtruding from supercells can exceed 100 miles per hour and are capable of producing violent tornadoes.
Known as a “low-precipitation” supercell, these types of storms seldom produce heavy rain or tornadoes, though they can produce large hail, Erdman said.
The supercell captured in the Basehunters’ footage produced hailstones the size of baseballs. A supercell was responsible for the formation of the devastating tornado that ripped through Moore, Okla., on May 20, 2013.
Depending on moisture levels and the orientation of the updraft, these monstrous clouds can assume forms so magnificent that people who manage to capture images of them tend to want to share them. Here are a handful of recent shots from around the globe of supercells in all their glory.
These ingredients are present elsewhere, such as South America, southeastern China, Bangladesh, and on the Tibetan Plateau, notes Paul Markowski, an associate professor of meteorology at Pennsylvania State University in State College. “But no place do these conditions occur on as vast a scale as the Great Plains of the United States,” he says.