On a rational level, we’re all well aware of the awesome power that nature holds. Over the course of day-to-day life, however, when nothing major happens, it’s easy to forget that fact until the world around us decides to remind us. Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and the like occasionally rear up to smack us in the face in order to reaffirm our place on the geological pecking order. This incredible video of a supercell coming together is both gorgeous and harrowing at the same time, and it looks like something out of a science fiction movie.
This particular event was captured yesterday, May 18, in northeast Wyoming by a group of stormchasers out of Norman, Oklahoma called Basehunters. The time-lapse footage is nothing short of breathtaking. These images look like something out of a large-scale disaster film, only they’re totally and completely real, which is chilling and makes me glad that I don’t live in an area of the country where this is just a part of life.
The crew that captured this video also tweeted out this picture, which is, again, rather phenomenal, and hardly looks real:
— Basehunters Chasing (@Basehunters) May 19, 2014
If you don’t know what a supercell is, you’re not alone, neither did I before reading this article. It’s apparently a very specific kind of single-celled thunderstorm and they are responsible for most of the destructive tornados that pop up and are recorded, including those that tore through Alabama back in 2011. They routinely arrive with hailstones the size of golf balls, or even larger, which is terrifying and makes me want to wear a helmet. According to the National Weather Service:
Supercells are highly organized storms characterized updrafts that can attain speeds over 100 miles per hour, able to produce extremely large hail and strong and/or violent tornadoes, downdrafts that can produce damaging outflow winds in excess of 100 mph – all of which pose a high threat to life and property.
It doesn’t sound like this supercell turned into anything bigger, but when you look at the power contained in this storm, it’s easy to imagine how they could become with the destructive force of a tornado.