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Weather forecasting and analysis, space and historic events, climate information

11:15 AM | Amazing cloud formation in supercell thunderstorm

Paul Dorian



A supercell is defined as a thunderstorm that is characterized by the presence of a mesocyclone: a deep, persistently rotating updraft. One such supercell thunderstorm in northeast Wyoming on Sunday produced some spectacular cloud formations and little in the way of precipitation which is a key in the great viewing. These “low precipitation” supercells are more common in the Plains or northern Rockies where dry air often interacts more easily during their formation as compared to locations on the east side of the Mississippi River. In fact, due to the little rainfall produced from this type of “low precipitation” supercell, the storm’s rotation is viewed more easily. Normally, precipitation obstructs the view of the cloud structure that develops with the normal supercell rotation. A two-minute video (below) of the developing supercell is available on YouTube (picture and video courtesy of the storm chasers team called “Basehunters Chasers”).