Supercell Over Southern Maryland

January 17, 2003

Supercell copy

Referred by: Kevin Ambrose
Summary authors & editors: Kevin Ambrose

The above photo was taken from the window of a commercial jet airliner on April 28, 2002 by Steven Maciejewski. It shows a close-up view of the supercell thunderstorm that produced the deadly La Plata tornado over southern Maryland. The bulging dome of clouds extending above the supercell’s flat, anvil top (called an overshooting top) is caused by a very intense updraft. The updraft is so strong that it has enough momentum to punch through the tropopause and into the stratosphere (the earth’s upper atmosphere). At the time of this photograph, baseball-sized hail was falling and a large (F-4) tornado was ripping through southern Maryland.

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