Most bizarre/strange weather event you've ever seen

What weird or unusual event have you witnessed? Post your story!!!!!


I've seen quite a few interesting weather events transpire over the past 20 years. But I'd have to say this was one of the most interesting and strange events I've ever seen.






A strong alberta clipper passed across Minnesota into Wisconsin during the day. Strong WAA was occurring to the south in IA and surrounding areas. A strong cold front drapped southwest into NE. In the early afternoon a 300 mile long line of convection formed along the front and raced southeastward with the front. It had properties similar to a low topped squall line, but it contained all snow!!! This line of convection raced southeast at over 40mph across IA with numerous lightning strikes showing up on the network. With the passing of the convection visibility was reduced to zero with wind gusts approaching 70mph being reported!


I happened to be off early this day and witnessed the whole event unfold. I waited in anticipation for the band of convection to arrive. I watched in awe as the reports from IA came in. Before the line arrived the sun was out in full force with strong southwest winds gusting to over 40mph. Temps had surged to just above freezing. As the line neared a bank of dark clouds roared in from the northwest. It seemed to have similar characteristics to a line of regular thunderstorms. As the updraft portion came overhead the winds dropped off to nearly calm. It became almost like night as the thick clouds came overhead, you could tell they had some height to them. It was only around 4pm. I could see the lighter looking snow shafts just behind the "snow free base" (lol). Over the horizon I could see the distant trees and buildings disappear into white. Soon an incredible blast of wind containing very large snow flakes hit. The winds gusts were probably over 40mph. Within a minute the winds got even stronger and the snow became VERY instense. The bare ground became dusted literally before my eyes! I have never witnessed snow this intense. Winds gusted between 50-60mph in my estimation. I had to run out in it to secure the garbage cans which went flying down the driveway. I became totally soaked in a matter of moments. I never did hear any thunder. Visibility was reduced to about 100 yards at most. The snow appeared to have a grainy texture, like soft grapal. In less than ten minutes the snow and wind rappidly decreased in intensity with blue skies all across the west again. We picked up nearly 1/2" of snow in less than ten minutes! Strong CAA commenced and by midnight the temps were down into the single digits. Till this day this is one of the strangest and most fascinating weather events I have ever seen.
 
Back in 1986 I was in 9th grade and a forecast was made for snow on a day in early March. (can't remember the day). I got to school about 8am and it was raining. At about 9am the rain turned to snow and by noon there was about 8 inches on the ground. School got canceled at noon and I walked home from school. I only lived 3 blocks from school so I made my journey. I made my way home and it was snowing so hard and the wind was blowing so hard (at least 40-45 kts) that I could not see to cross the street! Well, after about 15-20 minutes I finally got home and the power got knocked out about 6pm that evening. By midnight that night we had 26 inches of the white stuff and the power continued to stay out for the next 4 days. This event happened about 60 miles east of Amarillo, TX in a small town called Lefors. I have yet to see it snow that hard because I literally could not see if any cars were coming to cross the street that day. It was definitly a textbook blizzard and I definitely had fun playing in the snow because school was cancelled for a full week. This snowstorm was like the ones they have in Montana or Colorado...not Texas!!
 
Probably the "waterspouts-swarm" at july 7th, 1999 on the Gardalake.

I saw around 10-12 small/medium waterspouts on the lake and at least 4 or 5 reached the beach.

Another bizzarre event was the snowfall on december 24th, 1993: ok, snow on christmas is normal here but ... not with thunders :lol:

Gretz
 
This may not be that exciting but at the time it made me pretty nervous. This happpened I think in the winter of 88 or 89. I was driving a semi from Lincoln, Ne to Ft. Collins Co, by the time I got to Ogallala the temps had fallen to 0 or below. Shortly after entering Colorado on I-76, around Julesburg, I entered heavy heavy RAIN. I mean it was coming down. I drove in rain for about 15 minutes never letting off the gas. It was raining so hard that it didn't have a chance to freeze on the road even though the temps had now fallen to 5 below 0. My truck turned into one big ice cube. I was worried that it might get slick but it never did. By the time I reached Greeley, Co. the temps had climbed to 60 with clear skies. You should have seen the look on everyone's face as they gaped at my ice covered truck!
 
It was early 2004, either frozen fog or frozen mist. It looked like thousands of tiny, shiny sparkly little diamonds falling from the sky; the morning sun had risen to illuminate these phenomenon. Only time I've ever seen it.
 
Bizarre Weather Events

Regarding Joel's Posting:

I grew up in the Ohio Valley, and snow squalls like that which you experienced happen from time to time.
Once in Pittsburgh we had a squall like that, complete with near - dusk darkness in the middle of afternoon and a few flashes of lightning as well as whiteout conditions. Within 15 minutes it was over, and a good 3/4" snow coated everything. It was an airy yet wet snow.
Unfortunately I was stuck in a highschool classroom, and couldn't walk over to the window to watch intently. During the height of the storm, everything had a greenish tint to it.

In SE Ohio I also experienced a thundersnow squall like that along an arctic front.

The weirdest winter weather for me by far occured when I lived in the Boston area. In early Dec, 1980, there was a significant snow storm, a "nor-easter" off an exploding coastal low, that if I recall correctly also retrograded back inland off the ocean.
In any event, about 12:30 am, a pause occured in the snow and everything got real still and quiet. Blue ripples of sheet lightning began to roll across the sky, followed by very soft rumbles of thunder. This went on for about 15 minutes, after which the snow resumed in force and the lightning ended.

The second weirdest that I recall was the notorious blizzard of '78. I was living in SW Ohio at that time (Springfield) and the winds were so strong that the sheets of snow blew horizontally like smoke across rocking streetlights, and my ceiling and walls creaked and made cracking noises- scary considering the temps. One vivid blue flash of lightning briefly took out the lights, and snow powder blew through the tiniest cracks in the outer storm windows to accumulate like plaster on the inside windows.
 
What weird or unusual event have you witnessed? Post your story!!!!!


I've seen quite a few interesting weather events transpire over the past 20 years. But I'd have to say this was one of the most interesting and strange events I've ever seen.






A strong alberta clipper passed across Minnesota into Wisconsin during the day. Strong WAA was occurring to the south in IA and surrounding areas. A strong cold front drapped southwest into NE. In the early afternoon a 300 mile long line of convection formed along the front and raced southeastward with the front. It had properties similar to a low topped squall line, but it contained all snow!!! This line of convection raced southeast at over 40mph across IA with numerous lightning strikes showing up on the network. With the passing of the convection visibility was reduced to zero with wind gusts approaching 70mph being reported!


I happened to be off early this day and witnessed the whole event unfold. I waited in anticipation for the band of convection to arrive. I watched in awe as the reports from IA came in. Before the line arrived the sun was out in full force with strong southwest winds gusting to over 40mph. Temps had surged to just above freezing. As the line neared a bank of dark clouds roared in from the northwest. It seemed to have similar characteristics to a line of regular thunderstorms. As the updraft portion came overhead the winds dropped off to nearly calm. It became almost like night as the thick clouds came overhead, you could tell they had some height to them. It was only around 4pm. I could see the lighter looking snow shafts just behind the "snow free base" (lol). Over the horizon I could see the distant trees and buildings disappear into white. Soon an incredible blast of wind containing very large snow flakes hit. The winds gusts were probably over 40mph. Within a minute the winds got even stronger and the snow became VERY instense. The bare ground became dusted literally before my eyes! I have never witnessed snow this intense. Winds gusted between 50-60mph in my estimation. I had to run out in it to secure the garbage cans which went flying down the driveway. I became totally soaked in a matter of moments. I never did hear any thunder. Visibility was reduced to about 100 yards at most. The snow appeared to have a grainy texture, like soft grapal. In less than ten minutes the snow and wind rappidly decreased in intensity with blue skies all across the west again. We picked up nearly 1/2" of snow in less than ten minutes! Strong CAA commenced and by midnight the temps were down into the single digits. Till this day this is one of the strangest and most fascinating weather events I have ever seen.

If this happened not too many years ago I think I know what your talking about... Well anyways my story is basically like his.....It was about noon and we were in a winter weather advisory for a light band of snow. The snow began falling around 12:30 pm and they let school out at 1:00 pm because of the winds that were over 60 mph easily...fairmont had a gust to 72 mph! We picked up about 2.5 inches in 1 hour then it quit and turned in to a ground blizzard all afternoon. This clipper caught everyone off guard since it was sunny as the line moved through.

I also have another strange event from 6th grade in the Spring time. I was sitting in math or something like that and I was watching these clouds just build and build to the west. This soon became a slow moving line of very strong storms that prompted tornado warnings while at school TWICE! When school got out another cell popped up and this what started storm chasing for my dad and I. We went out in the country and it was raining/hailing so hard it took out the whole gravel road and part of the train track that sat in a dip in the road. It was probably .75 to 1.00 hail for 1 hour since these storms moved so slow. It nearly filled the back of my dad's clunker truck with hail. We got back to mankato and i guess it didnt do anything there so we were the only ones with hail all over the mirrors and windshield kind of odd...
 
The strangest one is also about the first one I can remember. Seeing the meso of the storm that spawned the Worcester tornado (1953) pass right over our house south of Boston and dump all sorts of debris bits in our back yard and around the neighborhood -- newspapers, industrial roofing shingles (from the Norton Abrasive plant), wood splinters. The tornado had lifted about 40 miles away.
 
If this happened not too many years ago I think I know what your talking about...


It was February 11, 2003.




Although not the most bizarre event I've seen... a few years ago a forecast from the NWS was completely blown out of the water worse than I've ever seen. April 1, 2002. A strong warm front was approaching from the west. The early morning forecast from the NWS was for a brief period of rain, possibly mixed wtih snow, which was supposed to end later in the morning giving way to afternoon sunshine with high temps near 60°.

That morning I watched as a a 50-100 mile wide band of precip approached from the west from IA. Behind this band (and warmfront) in western IA the temps jumped up considerably. I figured it would be interesting to see the transition from snow to rain, and then to sun and considerably milder conditions. Around mid morning it began to snow in my area, and before long it was coming down rather heavily. The WAA was very intense and was aiding in the intensity of the banded precip. As the band of precip was passing through it seemed as though the back edge of it was being regenerated by this forcing, in effect making it slow it's progress. We began to experience very intense snowfall, with rates nearing an inch an hour. By mid afternoon it was still snowing, with nearly 4" of wet heavy snow on the ground. Meanwhile, to the west in western IA, only 250 miles away it was in the 70's and sunny!! As the very back edge of the band FINALLY passed late in the afternoon, a few rumbles of thunder were heard. There was also a bit of graupal mixed in with the now sporadic bursts of wet snow. We ended up with nearly 5" of snow. A far cry from the 60° weather that was forecasted only 12 hrs before.....
 
For me it had to have been the thundersnow event we had here in Norman on 3/2/2002....while the temperature outside was 14F. Very strange to hear thunder/see lightning when it's that cold.

Another one that was kind of interesting was when we had flurries here in Norman in Feb 2001 when the temperature at 925mb was something like +12C....the flakes were falling from a stratus deck within a very shallow Arctic airmass (surface temp was 18F).
 
I'm not sure of the year, think it was early 1972 or 1973, when I saw another anomoly in Norman while working at NSSL (in the OLD building). We'd been getting a bit of mixed freezing precip. when I noticed a N-S band of VIP3 echoes approaching from the west. This arrived shortly after lunch and produced some HUGE snowflakes, about 3" to 4" across and an over an inch thick. They were coming down like miniature parachutes, and when I caught one with my hand it crumbled like a very loosely packed snowball. It appears that convective currents had caused regular sized wet snowflakes to mix and merge on their way to the ground. I don't recall that there was any thunder or lightning with this event. I did see some pretty good thundersnow events while living in the D.C. area and working at NMC (now NCEP).
 
I'm not sure of the year, think it was early 1972 or 1973, when I saw another anomoly in Norman while working at NSSL (in the OLD building). We'd been getting a bit of mixed freezing precip. when I noticed a N-S band of VIP3 echoes approaching from the west. This arrived shortly after lunch and produced some HUGE snowflakes, about 3" to 4" across and an over an inch thick. They were coming down like miniature parachutes, and when I caught one with my hand it crumbled like a very loosely packed snowball. It appears that convective currents had caused regular sized wet snowflakes to mix and merge on their way to the ground. I don't recall that there was any thunder or lightning with this event. I did see some pretty good thundersnow events while living in the D.C. area and working at NMC (now NCEP).

Wow, that would have been awesome! I've heard of snowflakes being reported that big before. I still can't imagine actually seeing that happen though!

Great story. :D
 
I guess for me it was the Blizzard of '93 and the mini-supercell outbreak across central and eastern Kentucky on May 30, 2004. That blizzard brought me about 22" of snow. The May 30 date featured mini sups firing along a WF and those storms kept developing over the same area from about noon through 9 pm.
 
Last year here in Brookings I think it was about 8pm in June. I was out driving in a blue sky and these extremely tiny thunderstorms started popping up incredibly close to the ground. They must have only been the size of a couple of large vans with tightly packed cumulonimbus clouds that were constantly reshaping. I drove under one and it was as if you could almost feel the process taking place. It was rapidly changing shape & texture while maintaing the really small size and amazing proximity to the ground. There was one a little farther north which was about three times bigger and actually had lightning in it. The precipitation was fairly light but you could walk about teen feet and not be under it anymore.

My second favorite was a thunderstorm that developed from a low-level jet in early spring. The lightning and roar of the thunder was so constant it was as if the sky was literally exploding with electricity. The strobe effect of the lightning made the constantly moving and changing structure of the storm seem surreal.
 
That 2/11/03 event was nuts! I remember lightning briefly disrupting the power at the NIU campus! A professor explained that the thundersnow formed because the air was piling up ahead of the fast moving front.

Well, anyway, back to weird weather events. During my childhood, I seem to remeber hot summer afternoons which led to thunderstorms of course. However, they would come in from the EAST! Apparently, sea breeze fronts off of Lake Michigan were quite active. This doesn't seem to happen much anymore. I remember these storms were really strong too.

Also, I think back to the 10/29/04. A storm had formed in the 80 degree weather ahead of the main squall line. I remember it moving very fast, and it had a kidney bean shape on the radar. Also it's height was about 55K while other storms in progress to the west were very low topped around 30-35K. It was very intense for only about two minutes. The core of the cell was 75 dBz on the radar!
 
Joel Wright wrote:
Wow, that would have been awesome! I've heard of snowflakes being reported that big before. I still can't imagine actually seeing that happen though!

What was really awesome for me was that it happened in Norman, OK of all places. Winters are usually rather dry there and the first couple of winters I spent there the flakes were so small you could hardly see them -- when there was any snow at all. I grew up in Oregon and was accustomed to seeing nice fat dendritic flakes there. I also spent some time on the east coast and flakes tended to be more medium size, at least those I had seen up to that time.

My one regret about the Norman episode is that I didn't have my Super8 camera with me. It was at home, and I thought about going for it during lunch break but was concerned about the slick roads. If I'd had any idea something like that was going to happen, I would have walked, mushed, whatever to get that camera.
 
I, like Chuck, have seen those large flakes as well. The ones I seen were about 2-3 inches in diameter (obviously estimated), and lasted about 5 minutes. They wern't falling fast or numerous, but we did manage to accumulate a couple of inches. I had never seen anything like it before. I am not sure, but the world record is actually around 8-12 inches in diameter (but how could they measure it, wouldn't it break when it hit the ground?) - Though I don't have the book right here to check...

We had severe weather event on December 6, 1999 (or 1998). A very strong cold front plowed into the region, with very strong winds aloft. A narrow, thunderless line of convection developed along this cold front, and swept through the area. When the line came through around 11PM, it sounded like a jet plane. I decided to open the front door (the direction the wind came from), only to see our pines in the from yard bent straight over... Needless to say, I COULDN'T get the door closed until the wind stopped. It also managed to rip our flagpole out of the side of the house, and throw it up over the roof and into the swimming pool (it was bolted to the side of the house, it was so strong that I could hang on it). And again, there was absolutely no lightning! The odd thing is, the temperature was a staggering 45F! I am assuming that the most unstable parcel was actually lifted from only 1000FT or so, where the profile may have been MUCH warmer due to advection (before rapidly decreasing again), so that way the winds would still manage to penetrate the very thin stable layer. Damage from this event was pretty localized. Numerous trees were uprooted, houses were damaged... NWS reports indicate only 60-70MPH wind gusts, but I have never seen a 60MPH or 70MPH wind gust do this much damage to trees (let alone trees that DON'T have leaves). My weather station reported somewhere in the mid 90's MPH, which sounds more reasonable. Definately a localized microburst though.

It was a very interesting night, when your only expecting to get stratiform rain!
 
The strongest and weirdest event I have ever witnessed would have to be the ice storm in 1998 that affected most of northeast Canada and the States. Believe me when I tell you that that storm paralyzed all of the city of Montreal. Fortunate for me it happend right after my winter holidays and got an extra 2 weeks off from school... thats how bad it was. It literally brought the entire southern part of the province to its knees, knocking huge powerlines down, depriving more than 1 million electricity users from electricity for almost 2 weeks. It was a huge infrastructure collapse caused by many inches of ice falling at an incredible rate.

Something more recently observed that I would consider weird happen June 3rd 2004 when I witnessed a landsprout. I was so freaked out because I had no idea what i was seeing. I was even lucky I was able to see it cause it was so light and blended in with the backgroud almost perfectly (perfect then i wouldnt of seen it :) )
 
The weirdest event I ever saw happened on Feb 11, 1994 when I was a teen and living in Maryland. We got about 6 inches of sleet followed by an inch or two of freezing rain, which caked the sleet into an icy hard mass and allowed us to go downhill and cross-country ice-skating! Yes, ice-skating! Downhill ice-skating was one of the most thrilling things I've ever done; very fast and very maneuverable! Also memorable was playing hockey in an open field, but the rough sandy pebbly surface proved quite detrimental to one's health when taking a spill, resulting in torn clothing and extensive skinned epidermis. The freezing rain also brought down numerous trees and powerlines and left us without power for a couple of days.
 
hmmm, though not all that rare, I still say thundersnow...thats just weird to shovel snow with lightning over head.
 
Yeah, I've never seen thundersnow. I would love to, but my chances are a bit limited of seeing it here in Central KY. But one never knows, which is why the weather is endlessly fascinating.
 
I've seen it twice that I can recall. Its weird, seeing snow and watching CC and CG lightning.
 
Maybe Rob can answer this question ... One of the most intresting things I've ever seen was hail being reported throughout Southern Michigan, when there was barely a 15dbz on radar in some cases... It was sometime in May 2004 and the sizes were mostly smaller than pea, but I believe a .5" inch got reported.

..Nick..
 
I've seen that happen. I woke up because I thought I heard heavy rain, but my window was open and I wasn't getting wet. Went downstairs to look out the front porch and was greeted with about a 6" deep pile of graupel in a perfect cone where the roof had funneled it. The yard was covered with it too, just like a light dusting of snow. It had stormed earlier in the day, so I didn't think much of it until it ocured to me that everything outside was bone dry, including the cars.
 
I've heard the High Plains sometimes get hailstorms so bad that they have to plow the roads, sometimes two feet or more. I can't even imagine it, I've never seen much hail and never larger than quarter-sized. Has any storm chaser on this forum seen a substantial fall of hail?
 
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