Sunday, June 22, 2008

Atmospheric Turbulence

Wow, if you didn't get out and look up this evening (only if you were living in my area) you missed a great sight - an isolated mature thunderstorm (cumulonimbus cloud) floating in the sky to the east of town.

I had went out to run up to the store, but this time remembered my camera. Which is a good thing that I did, because as I turned east onto the main road, I saw this amazing storm taking up a large part of my car's windshield. There was basically nothing else around except this huge storm cloud. I decided that the store could wait; I had to get a shot of this thing.

But where to go? I needed a nice semi-flat horizon so I could get the whole thing in the viewfinder of the camera. I headed east, and ended up in the parking lot of a local golf course. I had a perfect vantage point for the shot. I then proceeded to take a bunch of images at various settings, making sure I got it right. In several of the images an aircraft is visible as it flies towards the storm, but changes course before it gets there.

I got the photos, and then left for the store. When I got there, I called my brother (why use the cell phone when driving?) and he told me - according to radar -that the storm was over Ionia County dropping small hail at the time. I then called the local TV meteorologist I know (not WOODTV 8 - I wouldn't do anything for them even if they paid me) who told me there was nothing special about the storm, but the NWS was "watching it." And why not? There were other, smaller cells around, but this puppy was taking all the energy available and building up.

It's rare to get to see an isolated storm like this, and the clarity to see it as I did. I need to get to the NWs and find out just how big it was.

Man, I love by job as a storm chaser/spotter and a weather geek.

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