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Supercell thunderstorm and lightning, South Dakota, USA

Supercell thunderstorm and lightning, South Dakota, USA

C035/4335

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Credit

ROGER HILL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROGER HILL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Supercell thunderstorm and lightning over rural South Dakota, USA. Time-exposure image of lightning during a supercell thunderstorm. This storm lasted several hours, producing lots of lightning, six tornadoes, and baseball-sized hail. A supercell thunderstorm is a severe long-lived storm within which the wind speed and direction changes with height. This produces a strong rotating updraft of warm air, known as a mesocyclone, and a separate downdraft of cold air. Tornadoes may form in the mesocyclone, in which case the storm is classified as a tornadic supercell thunderstorm. The storms also produce torrential rain and hail. Photographed on 21 June 2015, in northern South Dakota, USA.

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