Chugwater Tornado by Cristiano Xavier
This photo captures the immense power of a massive whirling tornado. Cristiano Xavier followed a large storm in southern Wyoming as it grew, hoping it might give him a chance to get a shot of a tornado like this one. In the foreground, you can see a farmhouse – dwarfed by the scale of the “twister”.
Tornadoes are typically created by large storms – known as supercells. Variation in wind speeds can cause rotation in the air, which the storm can pull into a vertical vortex. If this vortex or funnel cloud reaches the ground, then that’s a tornado, and the intense winds can suck up debris and cause serious damage.
“Luckily, this tornado stayed over the crops and didn't destroy any buildings.”
Since tornadoes are caused by large storms, it’s not unusual for them to be accompanied by lightning – as Cristiano was able to capture in this shot.
While climate change might have an influence on tornadoes, such as shifting the location where they occur, the science isn’t yet settled on whether it could make them more common and dangerous, or potentially even reduce their risks.
Photo location: Wyoming - USA
Photographer based: Belo Horizonte - Brazil
Camera: Canon 5DMK3, 16-35mm f:4 IS lens, Gytzo tripod