On May 18, 2021, a Facebook page run by meteorology enthusiasts called Great Lakes Weather & Climate shared a stunning photograph of a massive, iridescent storm cloud.
The photograph was taken in west Texas by photographer Laura Rowe and shows a supercell thunderstorm illuminated by the setting sum. Rowe also posted her picture on Twitter:
storm chasin in West Texas pic.twitter.com/sFjNdHGFYP
— laura rowe (@lauralouu30) May 17, 2021
Rowe said she took the shot on the evening of May 16, 2021, between Earth, Texas, and Littlefield, Texas. “We were between the sunset & the storm, so that cast an amazing light on the storm,” she wrote.
WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss shared Rowe’s picture, praising it as a “real photographic work of art,” alongside another picture of a supercell thunderstorm, also taken in Texas:
Here’s how the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration describes supercells:
Supercells are storms — usually, but not necessarily, thunderstorms — that contain updrafts that rotate about a vertical axis. This rotation is derived from shear in the environmental wind field (that is, a change in wind direction and / or speed with height) surrounding the storm as it begins to grow. Supercells often produce damaging wind, large hail, and tornadoes, and most strong to violent tornadoes are associated with supercells.