Is the weather there as crazy as it looks?

July 21 , 2007

Recently someone asked me that question, with the added caveat ... as it looks on

To answer, so far no. I don't know what the images show on, but if you want the best site that I know of for weather, radar etc, go to One can click on the links for a ton of different maps, especially the ones showing projections in 12 hour segments, up to 4 days in advance. I'd call a McWeather site, intellicast or weatherunderground are the real deals.

But what happens here and in many of the western mountain states is the morning bright blue sky followed by the wandering afternoon thunderstorms. All but the first two of this series were taken with my "reserve" camera since the batteries died in the big guy, first time that has happened to me.

This entire series happened just two days after the last set that I posted and although these are not quite as dramatic as the ones shot against an ink black sky, I've included a bunch here and will say a thought or two about why I included them. What I especially like about the first one is that I caught some of the sunset behind the lightning.

One thing that I notice in these photos is that there is a magenta tint in the sky around the flashes of lightning. There are two possible reasons for that, one being that the sensor in the camera is not as good as the other one, and the color is a defect. Another is that this camera is actually picking up a reflection off of the raindrops and you have kind of a rainbow effect going on. I don't know which is correct, perhaps neither.

At any rate, I especially like the way the sheets of rain are lit from the strike.

It's the Big U, upside down.

The image below shows a sequence of flashes, the first being the main strike to the ground which was followed immediately by the second which traveled from left to right across the sky, known as an air-to-air strike.

The strikes on the left of both of these images are actually quite a distance away from my house. Since they both hit the ground out in the high plain above Albuquerque, it's easy to measure the distance. Our city limits are distinctively confined by the surrounding terrain and these strikes happened somewhere in the neighborhood of 16+ miles away.

I'm also guessing that in these last three images the far left strike is somewhere between one and two miles in length.

So that's my fork in the ground of time for this day. Only 4 more days of school left for the summer term and I've got to go study for an exam on Tuesday.

By the way, not a drop of rain fell anywhere near my house during the hour or so that it took to get all of these images.