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Formation of a Rotating Supercell
June 11, 2013 8:34 PM   Subscribe

Timelapse of a supercell near Booker, Texas. [Via]
posted by homunculus (43 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Absolutely stunning video.
posted by meta87 at 8:38 PM on June 11, 2013


Great video, and wonderful notes from the photographer. Humble, thankful and honest.
posted by ReeMonster at 8:51 PM on June 11, 2013


That's some storm. There's some pretty spectacular lightning shots in the storm gallery, also.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:55 PM on June 11, 2013


Awe inspiring.
posted by JujuB at 9:04 PM on June 11, 2013


Is it just me or does this remind everyone of a recurring nightmare they had as children and still do as an adult?

Maybe just me. But I also bet that nightmare is a lot more common for people who grew up in Tornado Alley.

Like the storms in my dreams though, it is gorgeous if you can separate what it looks like from what it actually is.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:05 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nature is a helluva special effects house.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:14 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Is it just me or does this remind everyone of a recurring nightmare they had as children and still do as an adult?"

I grew up in tornado country. I regularly dream of tornados, but not like this. It's almost always that I look out a window and I see a tornado, it's nearby. I have dreams like this probably once a month, or so.

They're similar to my plane-crash dreams. Well, one of the two varieties. In this variety, I'm outside and I suddenly see a plane (a large passenger jet) coming either overhead from behind me and crashing into the ground about a half-mile away, or coming toward me and crashing somewhat closer. Not onto me. The tornado dreams are similar because for the most part, the tornados don't come right at me, they come near me. Both the planes and the tornados are about seeing something frightening and unreal happen very unexpectedly (and quickly).

I even more frequently dream of being a passenger on planes that crash. In those, too, it's more about noticing things happen before the crash, when things start to go wrong. I have no fear of flying, weirdly enough.

Anyway, I've never actually seen a tornado in person. I've been hiding in a safe place when one came down within a block of me, once.

This video is amazing and beautiful. The music kind of bothered me. I think I'm getting a bit cranky about that sort of thing — I'm watching and thinking, no, let the gorgeous photography stand on its own, this doesn't need dramatic music. The drama in the music actually diminished the drama of the imagery, for me.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:24 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


let the gorgeous photography stand on its own, this doesn't need dramatic music.

Yeah, I would have preferred the sound of the storm itself.
posted by homunculus at 9:34 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


let the gorgeous photography stand on its own, this doesn't need dramatic music.

Yeah. The moment I saw it had a music credit at the top, I turned off my sound. Amazing video, though. Made me think of Take Shelter.
posted by mykescipark at 9:41 PM on June 11, 2013


Awesome.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 9:54 PM on June 11, 2013


Made me think of Take Shelter.

AKA "General Zod Builds a Storm Shelter."

"Take Shelter" is an excellent film.
posted by homunculus at 9:57 PM on June 11, 2013


Take Shelter (2011)
posted by homunculus at 10:06 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


What gets me is that the music is the same royalty-free track that Kerbal Space Program plays when you get into orbit. So I was looking at the bottom of the screen for the capsule cam to show me Jebediah's face lighting up.
posted by ubernostrum at 10:11 PM on June 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


MCMikeNamara: I'm sure it's not just you, but I grew up in Tornado Alley, and was nearly killed on more than one occasion by a tornado (trees torn out of our quarter-acre lot - roots and all). However, I do not have such dreams (nor do I have Ivan Fyodorovich's 'airplane crash' dreams, despite flying a LOT).

It could be that the converse is true in my case. Having lived for nearly a decade in a country where even the sound of thunder is An Event, one of the things I miss the most is a good thunderstorm. The assault on the senses - thunder, lightning, the smell of ozone - the tension that builds and builds and builds from a gust of wind to the few windblown giant raindrops to the full-on fury right up to the release of the denouement and perichor afterwards.

I will soon be moving back to thunderstorm country, and I'm certain that after some time I will see them mainly as an inconvenience again. But as for now, I miss them. Terribly. This video reminds me of that.
posted by grajohnt at 10:53 PM on June 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I love when clouds force me to remember that we all live at the bottom of an ocean of air.
posted by triceryclops at 11:57 PM on June 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


Makes me think of storms on Saturn and Jupiter that are probably like this only thousands of miles across.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:22 AM on June 12, 2013


Not unrelated: Everest -- A Time Lapse [via]
posted by dhartung at 1:18 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's nothing better at the end of a hot, sticky summer day than a good storm rolling in, bringing fresh air and a 15 degree drop in temperature. While everyone else scurries inside, I sit out on my porch to watch the storm roll in, enjoying the thunder, lightning and rain.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:20 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I grew up in Tornado Alley too but I never had nightmares about it. I used to go stand outside in a thunderstorm because it's just so amazing to look at and the chances of anything bad happening are so completely remote. Even if there are tornado warnings (meaning one has actually been sighted) in your county, the area of destruction vs the total area is still miniscule enough that your chances of getting hit are like .001% or something.
posted by DU at 4:37 AM on June 12, 2013


Wow.
posted by spitbull at 5:55 AM on June 12, 2013


I used to love thunderstorms, but then my neighborhood was flooded when we got about 6" of rain in a couple of hours and a main storm sewer backed up. My wife woke me at 2AM because she thought it sounded as if it was raining "inside the house." I squinted through the window next to the bed and saw water where my yard was supposed to be. It was 3' deep in the middle of the street and 6" in the basement, with streams peeing in though every miniscule chink in the mortar and the sump pump faltering, overheated. Had the flood risen another half inch, it would've overtopped the window frames and filled the basement completely. Even it was, cleanup took weeks and a lot of effort. Things I cared about were ruined.

That was the first storm that made me question my house's ability to shelter me, my wife, our pets. Though insignificant compared to the really scary events that make national news, it sucked the joy out of rain and thunder for several years, substituting anxiety which has since tapered off into mere vigilance.
posted by jon1270 at 6:01 AM on June 12, 2013


I grew up in tornado country. I regularly dream of tornados, but not like this. It's almost always that I look out a window and I see a tornado, it's nearby.
Same here. Mine usually involved the tornado hitting the house and entering through the kitchen window. The bottom of the tornado a small spinning plate.

Whenever I see video like this I'm always amazed at the amount of sky that you miss living in a large city.
posted by stltony at 6:05 AM on June 12, 2013


stltony: "Same here. Mine usually involved the tornado hitting the house and entering through the kitchen window. The bottom of the tornado a small spinning plate."

Mine were always about seeing them outside a window. Sometimes, two or three of them, surrounding the house. Then I saw a real one and thought it was headed towards the house. I wrote about it here awhile back. It was freeze-in-your-tracks for a few moments, and then utter pandemonium as we ran for the 'safe' spot.
posted by jquinby at 6:19 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


That storm is beautiful, whereas the vast sprawl of nothingness in every direction of the horizon is what really scares me.
posted by elizardbits at 6:43 AM on June 12, 2013


the vast sprawl of nothingness in every direction of the horizon

Have you ever been outside and looked at that "nothingness"? It's filled with amazingness. Plants and bugs and animals and dirt and rocks and cool holes and fossils and roots and worms and flowers and a complete lack of trash and noise and idiots.
posted by DU at 6:50 AM on June 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Uh. It scares me because you have no sense of perspective of where the storm (or more dangerous weather) is in relation to where you are standing? So while you're standing there admiring the awesome ninja power of nature you have no idea when to start fleeing for your life? That is scary to me. Sorry that's not allowed under your FASCIST REGIME duder.
posted by elizardbits at 6:58 AM on June 12, 2013


Making your own decisions about what to do in a wide open space is, like, the opposite of fascism.
posted by DU at 7:05 AM on June 12, 2013


This was awesome visual meteorology. The two main supercell effects that I've always heard about, but couldn't quite visualize were scarily evident in this video.

The first was how massive updrafts and downdrafts form cloud walls that lower from the main storm. This occurred 26-34s in, there's an updraft on the left side of the rotation (the cloud is pushed up and is lighter in color), which corresponds to the downdraft occurring on the right side, pushing the cloud wall down. You can even see the indpendent rotation of the updraft and the downdraft almost a perfect illustration of the engine of supercell. As a bonus, and at the tail end 40-45s, the downdraft rotation pushes almost to the ground.

The second was seeing tornadic formations in a visceral way. In the 40-45s section mentioned above you can see how the supercell rotation "pulls" the air away from the lower atmosphere creating spin and a lowering of a rotating cloud.

Around the 50s mark, you could see a horizontally rotating tube in the center of the picture, and it was easy to see how a potential downdraft could push that rotation to the ground.

The 56s mark you could see a weak tornadic rotation spinning off the right hand side of the main supercell.

Then at 1:19s, you can see what might actually be a tornado on the left side of the supercell. You can see the cloud rotation, but also the rain wrapping around what appears to be rotation reaching to the ground.

Awesome. I love storm clouds and this made my day.
posted by forforf at 7:45 AM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


elizardbits: "That storm is beautiful, whereas the vast sprawl of nothingness in every direction of the horizon is what really scares me."

Despite living in Chicago for 17 years, I still have nightmares about that too.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:58 AM on June 12, 2013


Yeah, Texas is really good at agoraphobia-inducing desolate landscapes. I live here, I'm allowed to say that. But, they let us see more amazing stuff in the sky. It's a trade-off.

I do love a good storm, and they really are beautiful, so long as they aren't about to kill you.
posted by emjaybee at 8:25 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


What gets me is that the music is the same royalty-free track that Kerbal Space Program plays when you get into orbit....

I'm so glad someone else noticed this.
posted by Chutzler at 9:10 AM on June 12, 2013


I have tornado nightmares on a regular basis these days, and maybe because I grew up on the east coast and moved to the Midwest they are always hilariously exaggerated. Like, there are always at least nine tornados converging on my location and sometimes they have angry swirling faces.
posted by invitapriore at 10:33 AM on June 12, 2013


That was awesome. I would love to see it on a really big screen.
posted by 4ster at 12:19 PM on June 12, 2013


They're similar to my plane-crash dreams. Well, one of the two varieties. In this variety, I'm outside and I suddenly see a plane (a large passenger jet) coming either overhead from behind me and crashing into the ground about a half-mile away, or coming toward me and crashing somewhat closer. Not onto me. The tornado dreams are similar because for the most part, the tornados don't come right at me, they come near me. Both the planes and the tornados are about seeing something frightening and unreal happen very unexpectedly (and quickly).

I have these dreams as well, and I have since childhood. In fact, I had one last night.
posted by 4ster at 12:20 PM on June 12, 2013


triceryclops: "I love when clouds force me to remember that we all live at the bottom of an ocean of air."

Holy shit. I've never thought of it that way.

Also, this video is amazing.
posted by brundlefly at 12:24 PM on June 12, 2013


"I have these dreams as well, and I have since childhood. In fact, I had one last night."

Basically, my plane crash dreams (the ones where I'm not in the plane) are very much like the scene in Flight for the people outside the church. Basically just like that, except for the plane being upside-down part. And my tornado dreams are pretty much like the tornado-in-the-city videos we see from regular people on YouTube. There's a vicious cycle involved, I'm sure, between what I would have nightmares about anyway and the existence of these videos.

It's weird that in my waking life I'm not really frightened of these things. I live in Kansas City now and what happened in OKC could happen here. I'm not likely to ever see a plane crash, though.

Well, wait, hold on. I have seen a plane crash, right next to me, actually. I was about fourteen and a small plane came down without power and, weirdly, without landing gear on an interstate in the middle of nowhere when my family was traveling for Christmas. It was coming toward us and came down with the traffic in that same direction on the other two lanes next to us. Truly right next to us, it barely missed the back of a semi-trailer and its belly skidded and sparked right as we came abreast. Vehicles behind stopped or swerved off the road and around it and the plane didn't tumble or anything, just slid to a stop. It was a family in it, the dad piloting. My dad had stopped the car before I even knew what was happening and he and another man went into the plane and helped the family out. The mother and two kids sat in our car until the emergency services arrived. My dad and some other people managed to twist the plane a bit so its wing wasn't across the lane.

I guess that did make an impression on me, even though it wasn't a dramatic flaming impact of a passenger jet like I have dreams about. But it did have that holy shit I can't believe I'm seeing this unusual and frightening thing happen right here sense.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:45 PM on June 12, 2013


Between the third and fourth portions we drove through Booker, Texas where tornado sirens were going off…it was creepy as all heck. And intense.

Creepy and intense? In Oklahoma, we refer to it as "May."
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:57 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Beautiful strange and rare cloud formations
posted by homunculus at 2:37 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


These are amazing, homunculus!

Can anyone tell me where this was taken? Absolutely unearthly.
The photographer's name is Russian, perhaps.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:29 PM on June 14, 2013


Strange, Glowing Night Clouds Continue to Spread
posted by homunculus at 6:44 PM on June 16, 2013


BlueHorse: That appears to be a lenticular cloud over the conical stratovolcano on Kamchatka named Klyuchevskaya Sopka.
posted by dhartung at 9:20 PM on June 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks, dhartung. It's an amazing photo.

I was wishing I could see noctilucent clouds, but now I'm not so sure that it bodes well if they're visible this far south.
posted by BlueHorse at 10:26 PM on June 16, 2013


Awe-Inspiring Photos Of The Enormous Clouds That Produce Tornadoes
posted by homunculus at 12:41 PM on July 11, 2013


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