Powerful Thunderstorm Over Northern Illinois

October 29, 2010

Photographer: Claude Oesterreicher 
Summary Authors: Claude Oesterreicher; Jim Foster

The photos above showing an attention-getting thunderstorm that ripped across northern Illinois were taken late in the day on June 5, 2010. These towering cumulonimbus clouds spawned several twisters about 25-30 miles (40- 48 km) south of my home in Compton, Illinois. I was fortunately on the far northern fringe of this massive storm complex. The brightened area of the upper reaches of the storm cell (top photo) is the result of an intense cloud-to-cloud lightning flash. It was snapped at about 7:30 p.m. The lower photo was taken near sunset (about 8:45). At this time the storm, though still potent, was no longer fueled by surface heating and was beginning to abate. Note that the storm top’s magenta collar is due to illumination by the setting Sun – west is to the right.

Photo Details: TOP - Camera Maker: FUJIFILM; Camera Model: FinePix E550; Focal Length: 7.2mm (35mm equivalent: 22mm); Aperture: f/2.8; Exposure Time: 0.0059 s (1/170); ISO equiv: 290. BOTTOM - Same except Exposure Time: 0.040 s (1/25).