Story at a glance

  • A photographer and his crew were chasing storms when they captured a series of microbursts in the sky.
  • The “spectacular” storm took place at sunset between New Mexico and Texas on Tuesday night.
  • The storm chasers shared the rare images online.

Mike Olbinski and his crew were about to call the day a bust, he shared on YouTube, when '"magic unfolded right before our eyes."


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On the way to Lubbock, Texas, from New Mexico, the storm chasers caught a quadruple microburst as it came down with large hail in a "spectacular" storm. A microburst is a localized column of sinking air, usually about 2.5 miles or less in diameter, according to the National Weather Service, but at sunset Tuesday, Olbinski captured four massive downdraft plumes fanning outwards from a central point, painted in the pink, purple and blue of the sky. 


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“The sunset colors had started coming in on the left, and there was rain foot after rain foot,” Olbinski told the Washington Post. “You realized there’s a second downburst happening … I thought, ‘Nobody’s going to believe these colors.’”

Don’t be fooled by the pretty colors though — wind speeds in microbursts can reach up to 100 mph and cause major damage. For this group of experienced storm chasers, however, it was worth the risk. 

“I’ve been chasing for a long time,” Olbinski told the Washington Post. “I’ve seen a hail microburst before…but to get this kind of quadruple column thing in front of us, with the sunset colors…wow.”


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Published on Jun 03, 2021