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Witness the terrifying birth of a supercell thunderstorm

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It took photographer Mike Olbinski four years to capture the formation of a colossal, spiraling supercell on video – but good grief, was it worth the wait. This footage is the very definition of spellbinding.

Writes Olbinski, who spotted the thunderstorm forming near Booker, Texas:

It took four years but I finally got it.

A rotating supercell. And not just a rotating supercell, but one with insane structure and amazing movement.

I've been visiting the Central Plains since 2010. Usually it's just for a day, or three, or two...but it took until the fourth attempt to actually find what I'd been looking for. And boy did we find it.

No, there was no tornado. But that's not really what I was after. I'm from Arizona. We don't get structure like this. [Ed. Note: Supercell storms tend to form over vast plains, like those found in Texas and Oklahoma] Clouds that rotate and look like alien spacecraft hanging over the Earth.

We chased this storm from the wrong side (north) and it took us going through hail and torrential rains to burst through on the south side. And when we did...this monster cloud was hanging over Texas and rotating like something out of Close Encounters.


The footage is truly otherwordly. The lighting, the motion, the scale of it all. It's absolutely sublime. This should go without saying, but you'll want to watch this one full screened, in high definition.

Read more about Olbinski's experience on his website. (Olbinski has a knack for catching large-scale natural phenomena on film. In 2011, he shot a jawdropping timelapse of a massive Arizona dust storm. Check it out here.)


[Mike Oblinski via vimeo]