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Image: Mike Hollingshead

There’s a rolling boom of thunder. Dark clouds gather overhead and begin to rotate slowly in a strange, ominous fashion. If it were a movie, this is the point where the giant UFO would break through the clouds; or perhaps an all-powerful supernatural being would emerge and wreak havoc on the puny humans below. Yet while nothing quite that exciting really happens during a supercell storm, these immense thunderstorms certainly create enough drama for most people.


Image: Mike Hollingshead

Supercell storms are just that: super – but not always in a good way. Supercells are among the biggest, strongest and sometimes most destructive kinds of storms imaginable, and their effects can be felt up to 20 miles (32 kilometers) away. If the conditions are right, they can occur almost anywhere, but they’re most commonly found in “Tornado Alley” in the United States, where most of these photographs were taken.

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Image: Mike Hollingshead

Storm chaser Mike Hollingshead, of website Extreme Instability, took these incredible photographs of supercells at various locations. However, one quality the storms share is that each one is truly breathtaking – and they’re often a tribute to the photographer’s bravery. Hollingshead has been chasing storms since 1999 and started shooting them professionally in 2004.

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