If the photo description above didn’t give the location away, would you have guessed this stunning scene was from the northern state of Maine? Fortunately we get to see it because photographer @nattygraham was there to capture the action when severe thunderstorms rolled through earlier in the week.

The rare scene evoked a poetic, awestruck reaction.

“The moments in time where you feel small, helpless, completely without control, terrified but ecstatic . . . those are my favorite moments,” he remarked.

Maine is not a state one typically thinks of too much when talking severe weather. However, New England has had quite a stormy summer, with several rounds of severe thunderstorms over the past month. In fact, according to the Storm Prediction tornado reports for the year, New England (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York) has seen the same number of reports as Oklahoma, tied at 12!

Additionally, the National Weather Service offices in Boston and Gray, Maine, have issued more tornado warnings (combined) than the National Weather Service office in Dallas. This is just another example of how unusual and quiet this severe season has been for what is considered the heart of storm country, while the severe weather has been displaced elsewhere.


Tornado warnings issued by National Weather Service offices through 2018 so far. Source: Iowa Mesonet

One thing in particular in this photo caught my eye and that was the color.

While the exact cause for hints of blue and/or green is still up for debate, many meteorologists believe it has to do with the combination of time of day and density of water droplets or hailstones within a storm. Overall, green or teal storm colors are most likely to be found in late afternoon or early evening because of the lower angle of the sun interacting with the water molecules within the storm.

An article from Scientific America summed it up well: “The moisture particles are so small that they can bend the light and alter its appearance to the observer. These water droplets absorb red light, making the scattered light appear blue. If this blue scattered light is set against an environment heavy in red light — during sunset for instance — and a dark gray thunderstorm cloud, the net effect can make the sky appear faintly green.”

In other words, the lower the sun angle and smaller the water droplets, the more green-blue the sky.

While green skies do not directly foreshadow tornadoes, they do tend to foreshadow that extremely heavy rain (with possibly some embedded hail) might be headed your way!

Weather is awesome. #cwgpicoftheweek