The no-chance thunderstorm

Yesterday’s forecast made clear no chance existed for rain.  On the contrary, the only story in town predicted a hot and humid day.  It seems no one shared that prognostication with nature.

By early evening, it was indeed hot and humid, a rather miserable oppression borne of still air and heavy moisture and high temperatures.

Yet I gladly suffered through the sticky mess in order to snap a photo or two of some interesting clouds and the play of contrasts they created in the sky.  After all, you know how much I love clouds—and weather in general—so I never pass up an opportunity to digitally memorialize the splendid shows our atmosphere generates.

One particular cloud caught my immediate attention, a rather dark and looming structure hanging directly overhead.  Its shadowy form and the dapple of sunlight around its edges painted a marvelous picture.

Crepuscular rays emanating from above a dark thundercloud (208_0864)

The presence of crepuscular rays only added to my enjoyment… as you no doubt guessed.

So I captured a few images from various angles and of various pieces and parts of this blossoming giant, all the while paying no attention to anything else in the sky.  You can therefore understand my surprise when a clap of thunder rumbled across the sky from behind me—to the north.

I spun like a top and immediately filled my gaze with a platinum monster looming high in the sky.

A bright and rapidly growing thundercloud (208_0872)

It roiled and grew to tremendous heights even as I watched.  Kissed by sunlight, it shone brightly against an azure sky, a ravenous beast feeding voraciously on the day’s heat and humidity, pulling vast amounts of energy from an atmosphere overflowing with go-juice for such creations.

Lightning waltzed about and within it, a menagerie of electrical anger whose voice carried far and wide on still air.

Only minutes passed before I realized this new interloper had set its sights on my original discovery.  That suddenly dwarfed figure of darkness had no chance of survival given the more powerful and significantly larger storm brewing nearby, one apparently with hopes of filling the heavens with its violent form.

And so the one began looming above the other.

One bright thundercloud looming above a dark thundercloud (208_0875)

In but a few moments the two behemoths started to merge.  At first it looked more like a kiss, a few tendrils of one reaching out to touch the other, yet neither stopped growing and their stark contrast to each other became most apparent when finally they met.

Two vastly different thunderclouds joining together (208_0878)

Only then did I realize our nonexistent chance of rain meant little when viewed against such power, such intent.

I watched in awe as two celestial leviathans joined together into one massive complex of moisture and energy.  Their individual traits no longer visible after several minutes, instead they birthed a thunderstorm, a third instar if you will, and that brutish force rapidly filled the sky.

Which promptly led to this: virga.

Virga seen at the back edge of a thunderstorm (208_0881)
Virga from a developing thunderstorm (208_0884)

My eyes took their fill of the display as two became one, one became massive, and it seemed the whole of the sky would be consumed.

A rapidly growing thunderstorm beginning to fill the sky (208_0899)

Regrettably, virga gave rise to heavy rain only as the gloomy fiend moved off toward the north away from me.  Very little precipitation fell where I live, although reports indicate it unleashed the fullness of its fury mere minutes away, and it continued its powerful march northward whilst simultaneously increasing its ferocity.

Ah, to have been a participant rather than a spectator. . .

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