No one puts on a show like nature. Spectacular sunsets, double rainbows, dramatic storms: These spell-binding phenomena have the power to stop us in our tracks—and in the case of some hurricanes, cause devastation from which it takes years to recover. This year, U.K.’s Royal Meteorological Society and Royal Photographic Society (one of the world’s oldest) launched the first Weather Photographer of the Year 2016 competition, yielding images that were both beautiful and hair-raising.
These are the most striking images from the contest, with the photographers’ stories about how they were made. Like this image of a tornado vortex spiralling down from the clouds in Colorado, U.S.A, they are stark a reminder of just how powerful our planet’s forces really are.
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