Mini Challenge #350: Weather - the Extremes

CavalierCavalier Registered Users Posts: 2,988 Major grins

This mini is not about normal weather patterns or blue-bird skies, but rather only extreme weather. Since our "sunny" California and the rest of the world has been hit with record snowfall, record rains, lenthy cold snaps and of course, record wildfires over the past few years why not take advantage of it. Kind of dark, but it's top of the news lately and appears to be lots of photo opportunities.
The entries can be from any year and any extreme weather event. Since "extreme" can be in the mind of the beholder, the event should be out of the normal weather for the area. A description of the event would be helpful as well.

This mini starts today, March 17, 2023 and ends at 5pm (PST) Friday, March 31, 2023 (HAPPY St.Patrick's Day!)

Here's the link to the un-official rules:

and here are a few examples:

Snowmeggedon 2023 - Sierra Nevada foothills, California (normally at snowline altitude and receive a few inches yearly)

The Misquito Wildfire, September 2022 same area as Snowmeggedon - record drought.

Not my photo, but spectacular shot of Misquito Wildfire about a mille or so from my home. CalFire VLAT (very large Airtanker) dropping fire retardant ahead of fire line.

And once this year's snow started to melt, I found a very large white Buffalo in one of my Weeping Cherry trees.


  • sapphire73sapphire73 Registered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 1,861 moderator
    edited March 20, 2023

    @Cavalier, thank you for posting such an interesting challenge! I will have to take a look through my photos to see what might fit. Some examples might be subtle, like returning to the Tetons after visiting 40 years ago and seeing smoky skies above those beautiful mountains due to the wild fires further west. We also experienced some of the heavy rains and closed roads while visiting California in January this year. But I must also have some good photos of heavy snowstorms and ice storms somewhere. Or perhaps pull out photos of the aftermath of a derecho. Lots of options now that I think about it!

    Coming back to add some photos. One thing I realized is that I tend to use my cell phone to photograph extreme weather events rather than my DSLR. And even then, I am usually capturing the impact of the storm or drought. I may come back and switch these out with some others later. We'll see.

    1) Drenching rains, Los Angeles, California January 14, 2023 (taken with cell phone)
    We finally got out to California to visit someone whose home overlooks the Hollywood sign and the White Mountains off in the distance. It rained for three days while we were there and his typical view eluded us. During our trip we saw flooded areas, closed roads, and small mudslides recently cleared. The state parks in Big Sur were closed but Point Lobos State Park reopened on the day we got there.

    2) Derecho in southeastern Pennsylvania on June 3, 2020 (taken with cell phone)
    This was a powerful windstorm with 80 mph winds that came through my town and many others near Philadelphia and knocked down trees, electric wires, etc. Our dead-end street was blocked by a huge tree until a tree surgeon cleared part of the road. We had a downed power line in our backyard and were without power for several days. But this was a minor inconvenience compared to neighbors who had trees fall onto their homes. Many of our neighbors decided to take down the large trees in their yards because of this storm.

    3) Tree weighed down by heavy, wet snowfall in January 2011
    I grew up near Chicago and was used to lots of snow but was surprised to learn how much damage a heavy, wet snowfall can do to shrubs and trees. I have learned to go outside with a broom and try to lighten the load on the branches when I can, lifting up the branches to jostle the snow off.

    These additional photos are not intended to be entries

    Another rainy day in Los Angeles, just before we left to head north (taken with cell phone)

    Photo of our road blocked after derecho came through on June 3, 2020 (taken with cell phone)
    (I have a better photo showing the size of the tree that fell but my neighbors are standing in the background.)

    Storm on Sanibel Island July 29, 2017 (taken with cell phone)
    Afternoon thunderstorms are typical in Florida but this was a stronger storm, and I was surprised to find this man continuing to fish in the Gulf of Mexico.

  • grandmaRgrandmaR Registered Users Posts: 1,919 Major grins
    edited March 18, 2023

    This was harder than I thought it would be. I have some photos of weather, but not that many of extreme or unusual weather.

    In November 2008, we visited Grand Turk a month or two after they had a cat 3 hurricane. The British Navy came to the island with 300 body bags but they didn't have to use any of them. The island residents were getting on with life. The cruise ship pier had just been rebuilt. The city hall was unsafe for occupancy. The children were going to school in tents. Oil tanks were just piles of steel. I took this photo of a stop sign.

    1. Still Standing

    In the winter of 1995-1996, Baltimore had a record snowfall - the most snow that had fallen in the city up to that time. First we had some ice. (I was trying to remove it - it was a couple inches on our steps. Solid - I was using a hammer but Bob stopped me - he said it would hurt the steps more than the ice.) Then over three days we had 21 inches of snow, and then three days later there was another 6 inches. Bob shoveled the snow off the street into our yard. The pile of snow lasted there until April or May. Unfortunately this photo was taken with a point and shoot 35 mm camera from my porch. But maybe you can see the shoveled snow is almost taller than my car.

    1. Hidden car

    This last one is maybe stretching the concept of weather, but if you include fires, this should be included also. We were in Antigua and we took a helicopter tour to Montserrat. We were on our way to the old capitol when the pilot suddenly said, "There's a pyroclastic flow." There were clouds of ash in the air and the pilot wanted to stay out of that area. We could see the hot ash reaching the sea and there was steam rising from the sea, and the houses that had been partly covered with lava had smoke rising them them as the hot ash set fire to remaining combustible material.

    1. Pyroclastic flow - you can see the dust cloud at the top of the picture - it could have gotten into the helicopter engine and caused us to crash

    Not for the mini but to illustrate other photos of Montserrat - boiling sea

    and burning houses

    “" adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered." G.K. Chesterton”
  • sapphire73sapphire73 Registered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 1,861 moderator
    edited March 19, 2023

    @grandmaR My husband and I went to Montserrat in 1978. There was some special airline fare that made it possible to visit three islands. It was a little frightening to land on the narrow airstrip but we had a lovely, brief visit. Sorry that the volcano erupted and affected much of the area we saw. Thank you for sharing the photos!

  • TonyCooperTonyCooper Registered Users Posts: 2,273 Major grins

    This is a close as I can get to an "extreme weather" photo. It was taken in August of 2004 right after Hurricane Charley hit Orlando, Florida. A photo of a downed pine tree in my front yard is not something I'd normally retain, but in this one the subject is really an extremely cute grandson. He's now a sophomore in college.

    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
  • CavalierCavalier Registered Users Posts: 2,988 Major grins

    @sapphire73 @grandmaR @TonyCooper

    Thanks for your interesting and right-on-topic entries!

    And for the back stories - that helps so much. Especially you @TonyCooper - You could have titled your photo as just "Hurricane Charley", which would have told a very different story! (cute grandson, by the way!)

  • GSPePGSPeP Registered Users Posts: 3,540 Major grins
    1. After the tornado (East Germany, July 2005)

    1. Frosty

    1. Rain in the background

  • CavalierCavalier Registered Users Posts: 2,988 Major grins
    edited March 31, 2023

    Just a note regarding volcanic activity and climate. Although we may not consider volcanic activity a weather event, they can influence climate. Therefore, volanic activity entries are valid in this Mini.

    "Large volcanic eruptions can inject enough H2O, CO2, SO2, and other volatiles (e.g., halogen species) into the upper troposphere and stratosphere to influence atmospheric chemistry and climate
    National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Volcanic Eruptions and Their Repose, Unrest, Precursors, and Timing. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press."

    And as an aside - there are 8 more days in this mini. More entries are welcomed!!

  • spanky117abspanky117ab Registered Users Posts: 260 Major grins

    I've got nothing to add to this challenge, fact is ive had nothing for the last three challenges. Oh well maybe next time.

  • CavalierCavalier Registered Users Posts: 2,988 Major grins

    @spanky117ab = sorry. I know this one is rather specific, but thanks for looking. Are you sure you don't have a volcanic eruption with lightening, or a tornado on the ground hidden away sonewhere? (That was a poor attempt at a joke)

  • TonyCooperTonyCooper Registered Users Posts: 2,273 Major grins

    Mike's (Spanky's) homepage contains many excellent photographs showing that cold white stuff on the ground that those of us in Florida consider to be an extreme weather condition.

    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
  • sarasphotossarasphotos Registered Users Posts: 3,679 Major grins
    edited March 23, 2023

    For the last few minis I've been too involved in other activities to enter, but this time I was determined. I had to look a bit and I finally came up with a few entries.

    1) FLOODING: Several years ago in a particularly rainy September a girlfriend and I took a ride around a neighboring lake, not realizing that certain parts of the way were impassable and called for a detour. Made for a fun but damp tour (we got rained on as well). You can see the bike trail through the overflowing lake waters.

    2) STORM APPROACH: My brother-in-law has a holiday apartment with a fantastic view over Lake Garda in northern Italy and we are lucky enough to be able to spend some time there most years. Normally the view looks like this:
    (not for entry)

    This past summer we woke one morning to howling winds and I went on the balcony to check it out. I watched the storm move down the lake - it was quite dramatic, the wind was so strong that I could barely hold the camera still enough. When the lightning and thunder were simultaneous I ran back inside and shut the doors and the shutters!

    3) HAIL: This one is not greatly artistic, as it was taken with my cell through the car window. We were on the way home from Lake Garda and had just passed the border from Italy into Austria when it suddenly started to hail - and so much so that one could barely see to drive. Everyone slowed way down and just hoped that it would soon be over. It lasted less than ten minutes but it was really scary! And thankfully the hail wasn't large enough to damage the car.

    Not for entry...
    This one is from our balcony during a particularly thick snowstorm. Here in Bavaria, you really can't qualify snow as an uncommon weather occurence, but some snow is thicker than others.

    And this last one follows @grandmaR 's volcano theme: 1981, two days after the 2nd Mount St. Helens eruption. I was living in Seattle and had been down to visit my brother in eastern Oregon and had to drive back on an I5 freeway covered with ash and each successive car churning up the dust. This was taken with my old Pentax ME Super as I was driving. No auto focus in those days...

  • slpollettslpollett Registered Users Posts: 1,142 Major grins
    edited March 24, 2023

    Well, where I live in Texas is "usually" in a very moderate zone that rarely gets any extreme weather. I don't live near any flood zones or areas prone to flash flooding or anything like that. We get snow so seldom here that when we do get it at all it's usually a dusting that is gone within a few hours and everyone (literally) stops to play in it before it's gone. In my 40 years here, we only had snow one time that stayed the whole day, overnight and part of the next day. We actually had 2 whole inches. Whoohoo. That was back in the 80's, I think. Anyway, I digress. All of that to say that back in January of 2021, we got Snowmageddon. We had 10 (or 12?) days here that never got above freezing and 5 or 6 of those days hovered between 2 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit. We got an inch or two of snow one day, then some freezing rain with temp right around the freezing mark that gave us a nice layer of ice, and then we got 5 or 6 inches to go on top of that and the temperature dropped to those super cold levels. Many people lost power. Many didn't have water because the pipes froze. Lots of folks perished. We considered ourselves quite lucky. We never lost power at our house. Our pipes never froze. I only stuck my nose out of the house during that time to take pictures around my house. :) I won't say these are the greatest ever, but I was cold and I didn't stay out long.

    1. This was pretty early in the snow event. This is my patio at dawn after the first snow. I loved the sun peeking through the fence.

    2. This is the ice that we got from the freezing rain that gave us a nice slippery layer. This is my front sidewalk. It all looks level with my yard, but there should be a step down there.

    3. This last one is the view out of my front door after all the snow had fallen. The front foreground should be the sidewalk around the house, then step down into the yard. Roughly the center of the photo should be our street. You can barely make out part of the curb, but then it looks like a fairly flat surface from there to the neighbor's yard. The prolonged cold temperatures killed this tree in the photo and two other large trees in my yard. That was sad. We also lost a number of shrubs and everything in our (heated) greenhouse. I guess the heater in there wasn't enough.

    TBH, I hope I never see extreme weather again. I don't like snow and I definitely don't like to be cold!

    Sherry P.

  • CavalierCavalier Registered Users Posts: 2,988 Major grins

    You all are making this really hard to judge. Good stuff !

  • sapphire73sapphire73 Registered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 1,861 moderator

    @spanky117ab said:
    I've got nothing to add to this challenge, fact is ive had nothing for the last three challenges. Oh well maybe next time.

    Just took a look at your website. So many great captures! I have never managed to capture images of lightning and am very impressed with your Lightning Shots gallery as well as the hawks, owls, etc. :)

  • spanky117abspanky117ab Registered Users Posts: 260 Major grins

    I forgot about my lightning shots, they might be considered extreme weather perhaps. Thank you Sapphire.

  • spanky117abspanky117ab Registered Users Posts: 260 Major grins

    I didn't think I had any extreme weather shots then Sapphire reminded me about these photos I took years ago. On those nights it was very noisy to say the least. I haven't photographed lightning in a while, I am more of a fair weather shooter now, age may have something to do with that.





  • CavalierCavalier Registered Users Posts: 2,988 Major grins
    edited March 28, 2023

    @spanky117ab - Yes, lightening is extreme to those arreas that normally don't get much thunder/lightening! The Mini Challenge rules state that only three shots can be enterd for a mini - so I will assume the first three of your set are those for entry (all great shots by the way). Thanks for entering the mini!

  • spanky117abspanky117ab Registered Users Posts: 260 Major grins

    Sorry about that ,yes the first three will be my entries. I should have re read the rules.

  • CavalierCavalier Registered Users Posts: 2,988 Major grins
  • CavalierCavalier Registered Users Posts: 2,988 Major grins
    edited April 1, 2023

    This Mini-Challenge is now closed. I hope to get the results out tomorrow. Thank you all for participating!

  • CavalierCavalier Registered Users Posts: 2,988 Major grins
    edited April 1, 2023

    Results are posted in Mini Challenge #350: Weather - the Extremes RESULTS discussion. Thanks for playing!

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