My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Friday, May 28, 2010

"Every sky has its beauty"

One of the things I like about living up here is that I often enjoy airplane views, without actually having to be on an airplane! :-)

On Wednesday evening I took several photos of these developing thunderstorms to the southeast as they grew, morphed, joined and moved south over the course of 30-40 minutes. There were tornado watches in the counties to the south and southeast of us that night... no surprise! Nothing but clear skies where I stood, though the winds were buffeting me so much while I took these I thought they'd come out blurry.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.
~William Shakespeare

(Wow, did The Bard live in Wyoming? LOL)

First they began as individual twin storms, in an area that's spawned several such storms.*

Then the one on the left really started to build up.

If you click on the above photo, you'll be better able to see some details, like the jet appearing to fly over it. (If it really was flying over it, that's dangerous, because these storms can spew huge hailstones out of their tops just like popcorn flying out of an uncovered popper!)

And then it started to build a huge column.

Eventually, as it moved further south, the two storms merged into one monster storm.

Every sky has its beauty,
and storms which whip the blood
do but make it pulse more vigorously.
~George Gissing

When we were dating and living in west Texas (where they also get some potent storms) BW told me that as a B-52 navigator, he learned that a storm like this is called a Mesoscale Convective Complex. (Frankly, I think he was just showing off). ;-) But since it took me some time and effort to memorize that cool-sounding name for what I'd previously just called "bigass thunderstorms," and I seldom get a chance to gracefully insert it into conversations, I thought I'd share it here. (And yeah, I'm probably just showing off too! LOL)

*This isn't the first time I've photographed an incredible thunderhead at sunset, or twin thunderstorms brewing in that exact same spot... check out these first two photos, taken in the spring and early summer of 2005.

Wishing you clear skies and a happy, safe and "memorable" holiday weekend! :-)


  1. La,

    Great pics. We don't see anything like that here. Thanks for sharing.

    Please tell BW that I think your "bigass thunderstorms" is more descriptive for we laypeople, LOL. You crack me up.

    Have a great long weekend,

  2. LOL - I will definitely deliver your message, Ali! And I still use the lay term "bigass thunderstorms" the vast majority of the time. ;-)

    Happy long weekend to you, too!

  3. I love when clouds are all fluffy like that. Simply gorgeous! That first photo reminds me of Rocky Mountain National Park. :)

  4. Those are beautiful pictures...all of them...I especially like the photo from 2005 with the little house on top of the hill...but those clouds are spectacular...I suppose they deserve a fancy name like that.

    The storm brewing reminds me of the cloud men from James and the Giant Peach that threw the hailstones down. Maybe if we look close enough, we'll see them up there!

  5. Molly - I love those big fluffy clouds too. Doesn't it look like you could bounce up and down on them, like on a big, soft, pillowy mattress? And if you could, wouldn't that be fun? :-)

    Do you have Rocky Mountain National Park on your mind for some reason? ;-) Won't be long now, you'll be seeing views like that live and in person! Yay!

    Rose - Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed them (and that you especially liked that photo of the sunset clouds over our neighbor's house. We get amazing sunrises here, but spectacular sunsets are rare, so that photo was quite the prize!)

    I loved James and the Giant Peach as a kid, but have not read it since then! And since I have no recollection of the hailstone throwing cloud men, I obviously must revisit it!

  6. Is "WOW" enough of a comment? Because that's sort of where I'm at. I'm stunned.
    I lived in FL for awhile where there's a thunderstorm every day around 3-4 in the afternoon....but I never saw the build up. I just learned that when it started getting dark you had about 4 minutes to run or you were going to get soaked.
    See I'm not inserting any wonderful poet reference, or bigass terminology...just WOW. This limited Yankee-esque vocab may be some of my endearing charm. :)
    Happy MD...I'm off to the cottage with the furkids. No FB, no blog, no cell. I'll catch you on the other side.

  7. oh my. Your place on the planet and your photos are amazing. :)

    Love and {{{hugs}}}

  8. Sue ~ Thanks, I loved your comment! And "Wow" is not only sufficient, it expresses a great deal! Still, thanks for elaborating a bit in your Yankee-esque style. :-)

    The storms we get to watch build up like that are rarely the ones that hit us. Those come up over the mountains behind us, so we often get a warning only slightly more generous than Florida's. (BW will sometimes call me from town to warn me that a storm is be looming on the mountaintops, while I'll be obliviously basking in sunshine.)

    I don't remember living anywhere else where we got views of building storms like we do here. Living at this altitude over a valley 2000 feet below and with a view nearly 100 miles distant really provides a unique perspective.

    rift ~ Thank you, you take wonderful photos yourself, so I appreciate your compliment about mine! I don't have any special talent, I just point my camera at the phenomenal critters and scenery around me. It's hard not to get lucky with at least some of my photos! :-)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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