#10 – Ball Lightning


Credit: Joe Thomassen, Wikipedia

Ball lightning, seen here descending from a thunderstorm in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA, is a rare and unexplained phenomenon and has been the subject of myth and wonder for centuries. Usually associated with large thunderstorms, ball lightning has been mistaken for UFOs and many reports claim that the ball eventually explodes, sometimes destroying buildings, and leaving the odor of sulfur. Ball lightning, varying from pea-size to 8 feet in diameter, forms after a normal strike of lightning, but moving much slower and erratically, even skipping across the ground before it disappears.

#11 – Rain Bomb


Credit: Bruce Haffner/Andrew Park/Jerry Ferguson

Rain bombs, like this one dropping over Phoenix, Arizona, USA, are no joke. Also known as a wet microburst, a rain bomb occurs when a heavy column of cool air suddenly drops in the middle of a storm. The downdraft pulls down water droplets with such immense force that when it hits the ground it generates winds up to 150 miles per hour and can break fully-developed trees and damage buildings. The “blast” can affect an area up to two miles across.

#12 – Snow Balls


Credit: Wikimedia, Aleksandr Abrosimov

An entire beach along an 11-mile stretch of the Gulf of Ob in western Siberia, Russia, is covered in large frozen snowballs that washed ashore. The icy orbs range from the size of a tennis ball up to almost 3 feet in diameter. These globular formations begin as sludgy chunks of floating ice known as “slob ice” and end up as snowballs when the wind conditions and temperature all combine under the right circumstances.


#13 – Non-aqueous Rain


Stories of animals falling from the sky have been reported in many countries since biblical times, and frequently enough for the phenomenon to have a scientific name. “Non-aqueous Rain” is an erratic meteorological phenomenon in which earthbound animals literally rain from the sky. Fish and frogs are the most common to rain down, but other reported cases include the falling of jellyfish, spiders, and birds. The cause of this phenomenon is still a mystery, although some scientists theorize that the animals are sucked up by a passing waterspout and released some miles away.

#14 – Water Spout


Credit: Mehmet Gökyiğit / Tulen Travel, Unsplash

Waterspouts, like these captured in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Turkey and off the coast of Florida, are whirlwinds that form above bodies of water. Literally a tornado on water, waterspouts are associated with severe thunderstorms, are often accompanied by high winds and seas, large hail, and dangerous lightning, and can reach speeds of over 200 miles per hour. Waterspouts are thought to be powerful enough to suck up small creatures, such as frogs and fishes and carry them great distances before sending them back to earth.

#15 – Mammatus Clouds


Credit: : NOAA/Rachel McBee / Wikipedia

Mammatus, Latin for mammary, is a fitting name for these udder-like clouds in the Nepal Himalayas and Kansas, USA. They resemble mammary glands in shape and in their location on the underbelly of anvil clouds, the severest of thunderstorms. Strong winds give these clouds a terrifying burbling, and their ominous appearance is appropriate as they are often forerunners of a coming storm or other extreme weather system.


#16 – Haboob

Credit: Junebug172, Wikipedia Commons/ Corporal Alicia M. Garcia, U.S. Marine Corps.(released)

Massive walls of dust envelope Al Asad Airbase, Iraq.. A haboob, which is Arabic for the word “blown,” is a giant, intense dust storm generated by the down drafts of a collapsing thunderstorm. When cold, dense air drops from a thunderstorm it creates an explosion of rushing high winds, spreading out in all directions under the storm. These explosive winds pick up massive amounts of blinding dust and sand and blows them into the air, creating immense walls of dust that can stretch a hundred miles and reach heights of 5,000 feet.

#17 – The Northern Lights


Credit: NOAA, Ken Williams / Frank Olsen, Wikipedia Commons. Exhibited here are polar light shows over Lake Superior, Michigan, USA;

Properly known as, Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon created when charged particles streaming from the sun collide with the Earth’s upper atmosphere. French astronomer Pierre Gassendi named the phenomenon in 1621. The name comes from the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas. The Cree simply call it the ”Dance of the Spirits.”

#18 – Lenticular Clouds


Credit: NOAA

These haunting clouds are often mistaken for UFOs because they seem to hover in place like a saucer. They form just above mountain peaks as moisture increases in the upper atmosphere and wind lifts cool air up the mountainside to the peak. The wind moves rapidly through these clouds, so these they are constantly forming and then dissolving, which is why it looks it’s hovering in place.

Well, there you have it–eighteen of the most bizarre and amazing weather phenomenon from around the world. If you think these photos of amazing weather events are stunning, why not share them with your friends? And while you’re at it, share your favorite strangely beautiful weather-related events below.

Can read a trail map, a music score, Chaucer, and a balance sheet. 1 part executive, 1 part entrepreneur, 2 parts geek, and 3 parts Dad. Love lime juice on chef salads and Rudy's BBQ sauce on my brisket.Some days I amaze myself. Other days I look for the phone while I'm still talking on it. On amazing days, I produce technical writing that helps people get things done.