National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Winner’s Photo Is Of A ‘Supercell’

This morning, National Geographic Traveler announced the winners of its 2014 photo contest and, maybe not surprisingly after all the recent storm news, the photo was of a massive “supercell.” Check it out:

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According to the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office, supercells are pretty rare:

“On the thunderstorm spectrum, supercells are the least common type of thunderstorm, but they have a high propensity to produce severe weather, including damaging winds, very large hail, and sometimes weak to violent tornadoes. What makes a supercell unique from all other thunderstorm types is that it contains a deep and persistent rotating updraft called a mesocyclone. If the environment is favorable, supercell thunderstorms can last for several hours.”

The photo was taken by Marko Korošec, who wrote:

“While on storm chasing expeditions in Tornado Alley in the U.S. I have encountered many photogenic supercell storms. This photograph was taken while we were approaching a storm near Julesburg, Colorado, on May 28, 2013. The storm was tornado warned for more than one hour, but it stayed an LP [low precipitation] storm through all its cycles and never produced a tornado, just occasional brief funnels, large hail, and some rain.”

Korošec’s photo won out over 18,000 entries. His prize is an eight-day trip to Alaska for two and his photo will be featured in an upcoming issue of National Geographic Traveler. Oh, and he’ll get a free one-year subscription to the magazine.

National Geographic Traveler’s director of photography Dan Westergren, who judged many of the photos for this year’s competition, wrote:

“This winning photo of a supercell over the plains of eastern Colorado stopped the judges in our tracks. When we first saw the picture we guessed that the photographer probably had dedicated quite a bit of time chasing storms to capture such an amazing sight. But what makes the picture particularly strong is that except for the cloud, the rest of the scene is quite ordinary. The crazy UFO-looking shape gives the impression that it’s going to suck up the landscape like a tablecloth into a vacuum cleaner. The unresolved tension in the image makes me want to look at it over and over.”

The contest is held annually.

Check out other winners here.