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a primary interest of mine :3

the cumulonimbus

most clouds are classified into one of three sections; low clouds, mid clouds, and high clouds. clouds like puffy little cumulus humilis clouds are classified as low level, clouds like the grey blanket of an altostratus are mid level, and those icy whisps of cirrus clouds are high level. there are 3 main species of cumulus clouds; humilis, mediocris, and congestis. they are either wider than they are tall, equally wide and tall, or taller than they are wide respectively. when a cumulus congestis becomes extra congested, it turns into a cumulonimbus.

a cumulonimbus isn't exactly classified into low, mid or high level - it spans all 3. in fact, if you look at a cumulonimbus, you will probably see a flattened wide bit on the top. this is called the anvil, as it looks a bit like an anvil shape. this is caused by the cloud bumping up on the edge of the troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere that clouds can form in. all the way up there, the air is very cold. this causes the water drops to freeze into crystals rather than droplets, and gives cirrus clouds their whispy texture and cumulonimbus anvils their fuzziness - known as the capillatus species. cumulonimbus calvus is the species that doesn't have the fuzziness and are instead 'bald.' cumulonimbus clouds are extremely large, growing from 10,000-50,000 feet tall. they produce heavy rain and sometimes hail as well. they are one of only 2 cloud types that produce consistant rainfall, the other being nimbostratus clouds. cumulonimbuses are most common closer to the equator, where the hot, humid air spawns them more easily. this is my favorite type of cloud.

i've mentioned the anvil of the cumulonimbus, which is also known as the incus. the incus is so fashion for real. one of the many very cool accessories that can form on the incus is called mammatus - they are named this because they look similar to mammaries. these are pockets of falling air that bubble underneath the incus, creating a smooth, wibbly texture. mamma usually only form when a storm is especially powerful, such as a supercell. there are other accessories, like the funnel clouds that reach down towards the ground from the incus, and the shelf clouds that are leading edges at the bottom rim storms, but i've still only mentioned a few of the many cumulonimbus accessories.

the joplin tornado

on may 22, 2011, at 5:38pm, a tornado struck joplin, missouri.

this tornado was one of over 200 tornados that spawned in the surrounding couple of days, but it would go on to overshadow them all. the tornado started as an ef1 before gaining force into an ef3 and eventually an ef5. an average tornado lasts about five minutes. the joplin disaster lasted 38. with this incredibly long run time, as well as winds exceeding 200mph and a peak width of nearly a mile, the tornado would go down in history as both the tornado that killed the most people and caused the most damage in the usa. in total, the tornado took the lives of 158 people. there had been so many tornado warnings in the area that did not result in an actual tornado that many people did not listen when told to evacuate. over 1,000 people would be injured, and some estimates say about a quarter of the entire city would be destroyed. the damages would add up to around 2.8 billion dollars - closer to 3.8 with inflation. important buildings such as a large medical center would be destroyed, driving this number up. joplin is still rebuilding after the disaster that happened back in 2011.

i enjoy learning about the joplin tornado not only because i find storms very interesting, but also because regional things like this tend to be forgotten by the masses while many people's lives were permenantly affected. i enjoy learning about the joplin tornado to keep their story in our hearts and minds, in honor of everyone it affected as well as everyone it took from us, and in honor of anyone who's suffered due to something not widely talked about. your story matters.