The Most Insane And Intense Weather On Earth
There are plenty of crazy weather patterns that seem too insane to even be real. Have you ever heard of a fire tornado? How about a waterspout vortex opening up over a gloomy sky? Some of the most insane, terrifying weather happens right here on Earth, not just in outer space or in movies.
When the sky opens up and brings forth a most unexpected surprise - whether it’s a typhoon, a brinicle, or a blizzard carrying 45 twisting tornadoes - these zany weather conditions teach us a lot about where we are as a society. These are weather patterns that make history, forge the future, and freeze time as it stands. Here’s a look at some of the most insane weather on Earth.
A 'One-In 1,000-Year' Rainfall Floods Death ValleyPhoto: Mikenorton / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0
Death Valley, CA, is known as the hottest place on Earth and the driest place in North America. The desert basin receives less than 2 inches of rain annually and during the Summer months temperatures often surpass 120°F. But on August 7, 2022, Death Valley experienced what meteorologists and national park officials called a ‘once-in 1,000-year event.’
In a matter of three hours the valley received 1.46 inches of rain. While that doesn’t seem like a lot, it was about 75% of the rainfall Death Valley usually receives in a single year. While no one was injured, flash floods caught many residents and park visitors by surprise and wreaked havoc on the infrastructure of the park and its surrounding area. Many park visitors and employees were required to shelter in place, including photographer John Sirlin who witnessed the flooding from a hillside commenting that, “[e]ntire trees and boulders were washing down.”
According to National Park Services the severe rain destroyed a ‘critical portion of the Cow Creek water system,’ caused many miles of roadway and asphalt damage due to the amount of mud and debris, and restricted access both in and out of the park. Park Superintendent Mike Reynolds said in a statement “with the severity and wide-spread nature of this rainfall it will take time to rebuild and reopen everything.”
The Twin Waterspout Vortexes Look Like Something Out Of A Sci-Fi Movie
This strange, funnel-shaped type of precipitation is rare enough on its own. Add to it a second spiraling vortex though, and you really have quite the phenomenon. In Lake Michigan, multiple vortexes are a common occurrence, with up to nine happening at the same exact time right next to one another. These waterspouts, or intense vortexes, are typically powered by non-super cell tornadoes and are common to tropical and sub-tropical climates. At their onset, these storms are easily identified by the circular pattern they form over the water before the reach maximum capacity. They’re notorious for overturning boats and inducing nautical injury but depending on their tornado-like nature, they can cross over to land to add a devastating twist.
The Canberra Bushfires Of 2003 Collided With The First Known Fire Tornado
Legends of fire tornadoes spread far and wide through the 18th and 19th century, but said suspicions weren’t technologically confirmed until 2003 when a brush fire gathered up a tornado and wreaked havoc on an Australian suburb. A spinning, fire colored spectacle is created whenever ground level winds brush with fire. In reality, the swirling effect has nothing to do with a tornado at all. It is the fire itself that reacts this way to gusts of wind because heat rises.
Firenados are relatively short-lived storms, but they can still cause tremendous damage with 2,000 degree wind moving at speeds of over 100 miles per hour. The most notorious firenado (which was previously believed to be a freak accident prior to the confirmation of such types of hazards) took place in Peshtigo, WI, in 1971. It burned more than a million miles of acreage and claimed over 1,500 lives.
The Dust Bowl Dubbed A National Decade The Dirty '30s
The 1930s got their nickname “Dirty Thirties” when a tremendous dust storm known as the Dust Bowl swept over the Great Plains and ravaged for 100 million miles. The visual effect of such weather was what we today might call post-apocalyptic. The massive dust cloud hovered for an entire decade, causing drought, disease, and financial devastation, and it was caused by human interference. A combination of overplowing and overgrazing turned out to be the leading factors in this outrageous pattern. Twenty years later in the 1950s, a mini version swept the region for five more brutal years.
Typhoon Tip Took Japan By Storm
The most colossal tropical cyclone in Earth’s recorded history broke records when it hit Japan, causing the lowest recorded sea level pressure to occur. Typhoon Tip, measuring 1,380 miles in diameter and carrying with it 190 mile per hour winds, was a record-breaking storm. It wasn’t just the largest of its kind but also, it was the largest of any kind of storm to date. Amid the wreckage were 86 human fatalities and 20,000 residences.
A Supercell Thunderstorm Brings Hail The Size Of Softballs
If a simple thunderstorm scares you, you definitely wouldn't have wanted to be in North Texas for this storm. It all started when softball sized hail poured from the sky, ripping through windows and entering people’s living rooms. The aftermath of this insane weather left one fatality and unimaginable property damage.
Supercell thunderstorms are insane thunderstorms that have a persistently rotating updraft. These are the least common forms of thunderstorms, and are known to produce deadly tornadoes.