Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Sky is a Stage

The sky is a stage, and every day is a different performance acted out by wind, water, and heat. Sometimes these actors reach that magical chemistry and instability that allows some stunning things to happen. Severe thunderstorms. To many they are a menace,  but these are my favorite days to be a weather watcher. Sunsets are lovely, snow is subtle, and tropical storms are brutal, but nothing captivates me quite like a severe thunderstorm. Yesterday the stage was set for some magic. Lines of low topped storms quickly developed, often training over the same paths. That allowed for some great photo ops. I got into a perfect position to observe the show at two different points during the day. The first train of cells went by in mid afternoon. They failed to get the energy they needed. Two in the line briefly produced hail and then fell apart.




That first line was just the opening act, a few hours later another line of cells fired and began training north east. As with the first line, there was one cell to the north of me that had already matured and one to the west that was just getting it's act together. Right when I got myself in position to watch the show both had defined lowering under their rear flanks. The northern storm was struggling to maintain a rotating updraft while its western brother hogged all the energy and started feeding rain cooled air into it. A few small laminar funnel clouds danced within the lowering but it fell apart before anything really menacing could develop inside its writhing core.






Soon little brother became big brother and really stole the show. It was throwing cloud to ground lightning strikes ever minute or so, usually two or three simultaneously. It was not supercellular for as long as the northern cell, maybe only 5 minutes, and that meant instead of wasting energy on  rotating updraft it became a serious hail producer. It didn't take long for tendrils of falling ice to show up in the downdraft region. 















The storm didn't live long, but it put on a really good show while it lasted. Lots of lightning, hail, turbulent wind sculpted base... it was a beautiful spectacle. After a good thunderstorm there is often a hot bite on the lakes and ponds. This time that bite didn't really happen. One rock bass for me. But the meteorological beauty that proceeded it was really something. 


4 comments:

  1. THAT WAS AWESOME! A high cemetery and beautiful magic, WOW! These photos are so fantastic. Thanks for posting the magic that makes life so interesting.
    Tie, fish, write and photo on...

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    1. It makes life interesting for sure, but it's sometimes hard to avoid the fact that severe weather kills.

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  2. That was a crazy evening! They had hail in Massachusetts. I fished a lake for the first time, north of Hamden. Only caught one largemouth.

    I love the crappies--nice pic you have there. I caught one today:
    http://cargocultfishing.blogspot.com/2017/06/pond-fishing.html

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    1. It hailed in a number of towns in CT, it just never got reported. Pretty much every cell that got to 50dbz or higher dropped ice. That's a rock bass by the way, not a crappie.

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