It's easy to complain when your hometown gets a week of rain straight, or when it's so hot outside you think you're going to melt. But as strange and devastating weather events happen more often in today's world, let's take a moment to appreciate the raw power that nature has at its disposal.
If you've ever had to wait out the terrifying strength of a tornado, it's hard to imagine how it could possibly get any worse. Nature's answer? Fire.
Fire whirls occur when wind is able to whip up an already existing fire causing the flame and debris to shoot up into the sky. While not a classic tornado in the truest sense, the whirlwind caused by the lifting smoke gives it the appearance of a tornado-turned-hell-storm. Fire whirls are not totally uncommon, and they have been known to happen in even more populated areas.
On the other side of the spectrum is the equally frightening rain bomb. Though the United States has seen it's fair share of rain and storms this past year, the unpredictability of this event is what sends a chill down most peoples spine.
Also known as a microburst, a rain bomb is the product of a rapidly cooling column of air suddenly 'sinks' in the middle of a storm. The drop in pressure causes a massive amount of water to fall upon a highly concentrated area, bringing with it winds of up to 150 mph!
Animals From The Sky
One popular anecdote that might actually have some truth to it is the old-wives tale of animals (cat & dogs or otherwise) falling from the sky. This has been around for ages, and it turns out there's a good reason for it.
Examples of animals falling from the sky during rainstorms may have some basis in the cases of hurricanes or tornadic waterspouts whereby small animals like fish, frogs, insects, or larger creatures are picked up and dropped onto a nearby town. While few have recorded such events as they were happening, scientists agree that this is the likeliest explanation for mass animal deposits.
There are some events on Earth that are almost too crazy to believe, until you see them for yourself and have your mind blown. Near the top of the list has to be the case of volcanic lightning.
While seemingly the wrath of the gods, this phenomenon (also termed dirty lightning) occurs when the electric buildup inside an ash cloud plume becomes too strong and causes the very atoms to react in a process called charge separation. All I know is, as beautiful as it looks, I wouldn't want to be anywhere near one when it goes off!
These are crazy, but sometimes Mother Nature comes up with things that seem downright impossible...
If you're out on the water and you see black clouds approaching, you know it's time to head back to shore. But what if there was no hint that the storm was coming? That's the danger behind a white squall.
A sudden and powerful wind that has been the supposed cause of many unexplained ship sinkings in the oceans and the Great Lakes.
When The Pride of Baltimore sank off the coast of Puetro Rico in 1986, the survivors of the 121 ton vessel floated for 4 days before being rescued. "A tremendous whistling sound suddenly roared through the rigging and a wall of wind hit us in the back, The Pride heeled over in a matter of seconds" said one survivor who witnessed the squall.
Not as destructive as other forms of intense weather, but this is none-the-less an incredible act that almost seems too amazing to be true.
In the Arctic there were reports of weird ice formations floating by boats, but no one took them seriously. When people started photographing them, everything changed. Frost flowers are the result of a combination of winds, tides, and new ice appearing over open water. The excess water vapor freezes suddenly and we are left with beautiful and mystifying crystals.
River In The Sky
Recent reports of a long train of clouds stretching the entirety of the Pacific Ocean have unveiled a breathtaking and scary prospect of an unbroken storm across the planets largest body of water.
The weather pattern is a fast-moving 'atmospheric river' that has the capacity to unload extreme amounts of rain and snow over top the Pacific Northwest, up to 15 inches of precipitation is expected in some places. Scientists believe that a build up of pressures and humidity along the jet stream is what is funneling the massive river of clouds.