Roger's SkyPix

Mini Cloud Atlas



I have seen many dark skies in my hundreds of storm intercepts during adulthood, and as a child in Dallas with eyes attracted to atmospheric violence. Wicked skies always have mesmerized and energized me; but this scene was so menacing, so ominous, that it rates in the top two or three of a lifetime. My NSSL crew and I were fortunate enough to be in just the right place and time to photograph it, on I-44 in western OKC, headed into the teeth of a deep, severe, HP (heavy precipitation) supercell. The storm was cloaked like a hidden monster behind a stratiform cloud veil (nimbostratus) with a little fractus in the foreground. The contrast in lighting was breathtaking, including the unnatural appearance of all structures lit mainly from the southeast in late afternoon. Our mission was to verify radar algorithms by penetrating the beast. When we did, at Lake Hefner, a "hailacane" greeted us: small hail driven nearly sideways by hurricane force gusts.

Oklahoma City OK (15 May 89) Looking NNW