Saturday, June 8, 2013

Aerial View of Storm That Caused Ugly, Deadly Tornado is Beautiful

Tom Magnuson, who works at the National Weather Service office in Pueblo, Colorado, said he took this photo from an airplane of the thunderstorms that would unleash the huge tornado in El Reno, Oklahoma last week.

Click on the image to make it bigger and easier to see the details.

He said the tornado was just getting ready to form, he thinks, when he took this picture. The tornado turned out to be one of the strongest on record, and also the widest on record, reaching 2.6 miles across at one point

The storm was of course incredibly violent, but from the air it looks peaceful.  At least at first glance.

Magnuson says the top of the anvil,  that big cloud that points to the right on the top of the thunderstorm,  is bumpy on top, because the updrafts were so extreme ---100 mph --- that it made the top of the storm look bubbly as the wind roared upward. Usually the tops of thunderstorms are pretty smooth.

And a close look at the clouds beneath that anvil silently testify to the roiling winds in the storm that would soon release the deadly tornado.

Still, from the air, with the soothing blue and white hues, and the soft features of the clouds, you'd think you're looking at somebody's dream. Instead, you're looking at Oklahoma's nightmare.

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