NASA’s Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) sponsored an Extreme Weather Photo Contest to find the coolest, wowest, pictures of a storm approaching. Here are the five winners.
The GPN is a global satellite mission that tracks rain and snow. You can read more about GPM here.
Here’s what photographer Jason Weingart said about this picture:
I have shot many storms from the same spot this photo was taken, and I almost drove by to get a different vantage point, but something told me to just stop at my spot. I jumped out of my car and ran down to the beach. To my surprise, there were still several beach-goers taking in the sight of this massive shelf cloud, as well as a few surfers in the water, trying to catch one last wave.
Here’s what photographer Brian Johnson said about this photo:
A large squall line moved through the area. The National Weather Service had warned about a large scale Derecho forming and moving through. This spawned a couple brief severe thunderstorms that dumped hail on rush hour traffic before the main line moved in. As the bigger storm moved into the Wichita area, reports were coming in of 70 mph winds and hail. There is an open farm field roughly two miles from my house that I shot lightning on the previous night. I sat there for about 20 minutes before this large squall line pushed through the clouds. I was hit with a pretty good gust front as it got closer, but as the winds increased, I decided to get to shelter.
Here’s what photographer Meggan Wood said about this picture:
This photo was taken in a wash that runs through my neighborhood in Maricopa, AZ. The wash runs north/south through the neighborhood and the haboob (type of intense dust storm) was rolling in from the east … It was taken on 7/5/11 in the afternoon, not long before sunset. I saw the wall of dust coming and quickly drove to the wash to get a good wide-open view of the height of the dust looming over the houses. I barely had time to get back to my car before it hit and I was engulfed!
Here’s what photographer Brian Allen said about this picture:
Unfortunately, not a terribly cool story — I just happen to have an apartment with an amazing view of the city. The storm that blew through started off with an incredible amount of lightning and then dumped a significant amount of rain in a short amount of time — on the other side of the river. DC got drenched and Arlington didn’t see a drop.
Here’s what photographer Grant Petty said about this picture:
I was out on a farm with a photography club for the purpose of photographing farm life – animals, barns, etc. I saw this impressive thunderstorm building several miles to the east of where we were and ended up focusing on that while the others in the group continued to follow the goats and horses around…The storm cell dropped 1-3/4 inch hail near Sun Prairie. Fall streaks barely visible under the right side of the anvil may in fact be the falling hail.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as an EarthSky.org Editor, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She and her husband live in Tennessee, where they enjoy guitar playing and singing. They have 2 grown sons.