November 28, 2007
One incredibly humid evening several summers ago, I stepped outside and breathlessly beheld a sight I had only seen in weather magazines and storm-chase videos -- a mature mesocyclone. I watched it rapidly develop and move east and was so fixated on it that I didn't make an attempt to photograph it. However, as I turned around, a second storm was bearing down on precisely the same path as the first. This time I managed to image it in the twilight before it passed by the stars of Castor and Pollux in the constellation of Gemini. What sets this kind of severe storm cell apart from most afternoon summer storms is that the entire storm itself is rotating. These brutes are often the progenitors of large hail and tornadoes, and in fact, 30 minutes after I watched the first system move east, it produced a funnel cloud and baseball-size hail.