Imagine watching a thunderstorm off in the distance. Everything appears normal but suddenly you see a wave of rain and air burst down from the clouds. The column of precipitation appears out of nowhere and races rapidly towards earth, pulling down even more moisture as it goes.
Seconds later all of that rain violently hits the ground and with nowhere else to go it fans out across the surrounding area. The immense force of the impact causes winds traveling at speeds of up to 170 mph to shoot out and curl up and around, resulting in turbulence that is chaotic, intense, and destructive. In fact, the turbulence can be so violent and extreme that it’s been known to take down passenger jets and has been attributed to several plane crashes over the years.
The unusual account above describes what you are about to see in this amazing footage of a microburst. A wet microburst is a relatively rare weather phenomenon that occurs when a rush of cool air and rain falls to the ground at high speed during a thunderstorm. The clip featured here was captured by Bryan Snider, a storm chaser and photographer, in the skies over Tucson, Arizona. He time lapsed the footage to accentuate nature its most powerful and to emphasize the rapid changes that occur in weather.
Bryan Snider of Tucson travels thousands of miles throughout Arizona each monsoon season, capturing amazing time-lapse video of his state’s weather as he seeks isolated thunderstorms, a microburst and lightning.
On Aug. 8, Snider was fortunate enough to observe and film a wet microburst known as a “rain bomb” over the city of Tucson. Barcroft Media tells the story and shows his incredible and rare time-lapse video: