On August 13, 2016, I had to go to Fergus Falls, Minnesota to pick up our car after its repair following an unfortunate close encounter of the fourth kind with a very large deer and then headed back south to our then home in Omaha. This gave me the opportunity to choose a route that I’d not driven before. There were a few notable events along the way (including a close call with another deer in broad daylight), but the most memorable was what I think must have been the largest storm cloud I’ve ever seen. I first noticed it when I was somewhere north of Pipestone, Minnesota, and I watched it develop and grow…and grow…and grow all the way home, for at least five hours, until the Loess Hills to the north of Council Bluffs, Iowa (just across the state line from Nebraska) finally obscured it. Along the way, I watched carefully for a suitable foreground and stopped once, between Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Sioux City, Iowa, taking a couple of small country roads toward the east, to make this photo. I checked the weather radar app on my phone and determined its location to be between Storm Lake and Fort Dodge (in Iowa). Checking maps when I was finally home, I realized that, when I’d first seen it, it was close to 150 miles away, and when I made this image, probably around 100 miles–yes, Dorothy, it was really that big! At its most mature, it must have reached something around 70,000 feet in altitude. I was very thankful that I was able to observe it casually from afar and that my route home hadn’t taken me anywhere near (or under) it! [Metadata: Nikon D-7000, Nikon 18-135 lens at 80 mm, ISO 500, 1/640 second at f/18]
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Now, that’s my kind of storm chasing. And there’s nothing better than watching those clouds billow up, particularly in summer when they do their tricks against a beautiful blue sky.
How could anyone not enjoy watching a big cloud grow? Ice cream castles in the air!
I’ve looked but don’t see feather canyons.
Look again. They’re everywhere!
Very striking picture, and size / distance; and that track is the perfect lead-in. :)
I was half afraid that I was going to drive off the road, I was so intent on watching it develop way off to my left, and had to keep going but, at the same time, wanted to catch it at its most dramatic. I’ll never forget that drive, or that storm. I felt very privileged to have been able to watch it grow, and from a distance where I could both appreciate its immensity and not feel threatened by proximity.
A broadly dramatic photo of clouds, no doubt about it.
In retrospect, I wish that I had had the time to go closer–maybe twice as close. But then again, maybe not, as the winds can change rather suddenly…
That is a sky and a half !
It was especially nice to have it over Iowa, with so much flat country and so little to get in the way of the distant display!
Yes indeed. here in Cambridgeshire I live on the edge of the fens, as flat as flat can be , but \i always say we have much bigger skies here.. nonsense of course but you understand what I mean !
I’ve seen some big clouds but that is positively enormous and still from a distance. I imagine there are some great open views in the midwest that allow for such huge sights.
I’ve heard Montana called big sky country, but there are many places where one can see for great distances. Southern Minnesota and Iowa certainly qualify. We lived in Moorhead, MN (across the border from Fargo) for a couple of years and when we were approaching it from the east, we could see a grain elevator 20 miles away.