Weather is so much a part of our lives that we usually take it for granted. Talking about the weather is the textbook example of meaningless small talk, something we do when discussing substantive issues would make everybody feel awkward and uncomfortable. In general, weather is a nice, safe topic that doesn’t get anybody all worked up or end with people slamming doors and calling each other misogynists.
Some weather, however, is so dramatic that it demands to be the center of attention. Talking about the tornado that just destroyed your house, for example, isn’t the kind of chatter one uses to break the ice at parties, though it would probably do the trick. Here are 20 of Earth’s most dramatic weather formations that you can talk about at your next cocktail party, if those are still a thing people do.
Some people live the kind of lives that let them see stuff like this all the time. You do not live one of those lives.
Source: My Birdie
These are lenticular clouds clinging to Mt. Erebus in Antarctica. Lenticular clouds are believed by sane people to explain many UFO sightings. Other sightings are probably aliens, though.
Have you ever been standing on the beach and suddenly been hit by a second, much larger beach that's roaring sideways as fast as a car on the freeway? This is a haboob, which is a hilariously named horizontal sandstorm that can arrive suddenly in arid areas.
Source: All Hip Hop
Okay, let's start slow with the lightning. Here it is, touching ground behind a small house in Manchester.
Source: Manchester Evening News
Here it is, hitting Barcroft with quite a bit more enthusiasm.
Source: The Mirror
Take that, New Jersey!
Do you suppose the ancient Romans ever wrote erotic fan fiction about Jupiter getting down with Vulcan and having the angriest sex ever? This is what they had in mind.
Okay, you can believe in Thor, or you can be a Scientologist. Not both.
This is just the kind of thing you have to get used to if you live in Kansas.
Source: End Time Upgrade
If you lived here, you'd be calling your insurance carrier now.
This is a fire tornado moving over water. Immediately after this picture was taken, a group of Israelites drowned after following it into the river.
Source: Cat In Water
The good news is that the tornado spared your house. The bad news is that it burned down after being struck by lightning.
Source: WVUA TV
For more extreme weather compilations, be sure to check out the videos below:
And if lightning "strikes" you as particularly cool, check out our spread of the ten most incredible lightning strikes in photos.