Thunderstorms on the northern Plains are some of the most breathtaking sights that nature can produce, and a handful of storm chasers were in the sweet spots yesterday to capture these incredible pictures of the storms.
The picture at the top of this post was captured by Basehunters west of Newcastle, Wyoming. It's a phenomenal example of a low-precipitation supercell; these storms, common to drier areas of the country such as the northern Plains, don't feature the extensive heavy rain and hail that one would find in a storm in a location like Alabama. The lack of precipitation allows observers to see the full structure of the supercell, leading to stunning photos like the ones featured here.
The cylindrical appendage itself is called a mesocyclone, or the broad area of rotation that develops within a supercell. I wrote more about mesocyclones in an explainer I wrote last April.
Ian Livingston also live-tweeted his encounter with the same storm in Wyoming and got some pretty nice pictures himself:https://twitter.com/Jeff_Piotrowsk...https://twitter.com/MTsevereweathe...
Storms elsewhere across Montana and Nebraska brought very large hail up to the size of tennis balls, as well as some strong wind gusts.
Some more severe weather is expected on the Plains today, but over mostly unpopulated areas of Wyoming and Nebraska. The main risk zone covers 28,000 miles of real estate but only 146,000 people.
[Top image via Basehunters on Twitter]