20+ Wild Weather Photos We Wouldn't Ever Suspect Were From The States

Whether it’s flash floods, tornadoes, or ice storms, the United States experiences a number of truly insane weather events across the year. At times, it can look like a disaster movie come to life and we’ve got the pictures to prove it! Yes, these spectacular images show that America can be home to some of the most awe-inspiring moments in nature.

1. Tornado in Oklahoma

If you ever needed a reminder of just how destructive tornadoes can be, this picture makes for a sobering sight. It was snapped in Moore, Oklahoma, a couple of weeks after a huge EF-5 storm struck in May 2013. With winds reaching speeds of more than 200 miles per hour, this deadly tornado claimed the lives of 24 residents and flattened roughly 300 buildings. The damage costs were in the region of $2 billion.

2. Blizzard in California

We don’t know about you, but we feel like we need a pair of gloves just looking at this snap! It’s an incredible shot that came from Crestline, California, in March 2023. During that period, the state was hit by a number of snowstorms that blanketed communities such as this one. The extreme conditions were a complete departure from what residents were used to, but even seasoned pros would struggle here.

3. Hurricane Ian in Florida

This photo should give you some idea of just how terrifying Hurricane Ian was when it tore through Florida at the end of September 2022. As the storm touched down, its winds were recorded at 150 miles per hour, making it a Category 4 hurricane. The boat here didn’t stand a chance. Tragically, 149 people lost their lives across the Sunshine State, while the damage costs were close to $113 billion.

4. Drought in Nevada

Droughts like this have become all-too regular for the folks living in Nevada. This particular shot was taken close to Lake Mead, which has receded to an alarming degree in recent times. We wonder how long that boat’s been sitting there? According to Drought.gov, more than 30 percent of the state is currently experiencing “severe drought” — down from the 58.9 percent recorded in February 2023.

5. Flooding in Virginia

Nope, this snap hasn’t been photoshopped — the duo here really did take a canoe ride on the flooded streets of Old Town, Virginia! And these crazy conditions weren’t created by a single heavy downpour in the local area in October 2021. Instead, it was tidal flooding from the Potomac River, which came as a result of some “significant storms” in the nearby states.

6. Thunderstorm in Nebraska

When it comes to intimidating weather fronts, this one takes the biscuit. Just look at it! The photo here was snapped near Hemmingford, Nebraska, in May 2006. The National Weather Service website states that you should “avoid open spaces” during severe thunderstorms, and find reliable cover as quickly as possible. We hope these folks got moving after capturing the shot.

7. Icy snow and wind in Hamburg, New York

How’s this for a stunning sight? After violent waves from Lake Erie crashed into the shores of Hamburg, New York, the freezing temperatures iced some of it over in January 2016. And this poor vehicle sitting in a parking lot overlooking the waterfront took the brunt of it. We can only imagine how the owner must’ve been feeling! So take note — never leave your car next to a lake during an icy snowstorm.

8. Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey

Hurricane Sandy made its destructive presence felt in the fall of 2012. This mammoth storm created havoc back then, wrecking roughly 650,000 residences and costing 147 people their lives. In total, the damages reached a whopping $70.2 billion. But this photo really sums up how powerful Sandy was. That’s the Star Jet roller coaster, which was located on a boardwalk in New Jersey. Due to the hurricane, the giant structure fell into the sea.

9. Flooding in New York City subway

New Jersey wasn’t alone in feeling the ire of Hurricane Sandy — New York got it pretty bad, too. Both states suffered severe flooding as a result of storm surges, with this shot shining a light on that. You’re looking at New York City’s South Ferry subway station here, which was completely submerged. Given how serious Sandy was, it’s no surprise that more than eight million residents lost electricity.

10. Thick fog in the U.S.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this was an unused shot from John Carpenter’s The Fog. But trust us, there aren’t any vengeful spirits hiding in there! Yes, you can always rely on some eye-catching fog around California’s Golden Gate Bridge, yet there are foggier spots in America. The brilliantly named Cape Disappointment in Washington is often shrouded in fog for over three months every year. And the number’s even higher in Point Reyes, California, at 200 days.

11. Extreme ice in Colorado

At first glance, you might think this shot was taken from a mountain in Switzerland or Austria. But it’s actually Colorado. Specifically, we’re looking at one of the many ice walls found inside Ouray Ice Park. “Ice farmers” put it all together by setting off a huge number of sprinklers in the winter months, with the water freezing as a result. That should tell you how cold it gets in the Centennial State!

12. Lightning in Utah

How cool is this photo? Talk about excellent timing! This massive barrage of lightning struck Utah, with even more bolts lighting up the night sky on the horizon. Strikes like that one can do major property damage, wrecking chimneys and roofs. They can also fry electronics. As the temperatures surrounding lightning can reach around 50,000 °F, their destructive nature shouldn’t be too surprising.

13. Dust Bowl in the American Great Plains, 1930s

Imagine seeing this from your bedroom window. We’d be terrified! It’s a great shot, though, snapped when parts of America were dealing with some serious dust storms in the 1930s. The phenomenon was eventually dubbed as the “Dust Bowl,” and it left countless farmlands in ruin. The storms also claimed the lives of roughly 7,000 people, which should tell you how dangerous they were.

14. Rainbow in Hawaii

From the beautiful weather to the gorgeous beaches, there’s a lot to love about Hawaii. But for us, nothing beats the rainbows you’ll see there. Thanks to the rocky landscape, cloud coverage, wind, and pure air, the islands are inundated with them throughout the year. And they’re absolutely stunning, as this photo from January 2013 shows. It’s difficult to look away, right?

15. Hurricane Ida flooding in New York City

Hurricane Ida was an absolute monster, devastating the likes of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi in 2021. The storm didn’t stop there, though. Ida also hit New York City and dropped nearly six inches of rain in a single day. As you can see from this eye-opening snap, that caused widespread flooding across the Big Apple. That’s Central Park, in case you were curious.

16. Heat Wave on the East Coast

Following the cold breath of winter, summer can feel like a welcome relief when it arrives. Finally some warm weather! But that’s not always a good thing, as those living on the East Coast in July 2011 will attest. During that period, the area was hit by a sizzling heat wave, with the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland, reaching temperatures of 107 °F. No wonder the guys in this photo are staying under those fountains.

17. Extreme wind

Those poor trees! This photo perfectly illustrates just how powerful Hurricane Irma was when it smashed into Florida in September 2017. It was a Category 4 storm by that point, and left a trail of destruction in its wake. The damages reached a staggering $50 billion, while 52 people lost their lives as a direct consequence of the storm. A further 82 deaths were indirectly attributed to Irma. Hurricanes don’t get much scarier.

18. Wildfires in California

For residents of California, wildfires have become an all too familiar sight over the years. The annual figures go into the thousands, with 2017’s total of 9,270 being particularly alarming. Yet this photo comes from July 2018 as the fearless snapper captured the devastating Carr Fire. By the time it was extinguished, nearly 230,000 acres had been destroyed.

19. Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana

Hurricane Katrina was a disaster of nightmarish proportions. It hit America’s Gulf Coast towards the end of August 2005 as a Category 3 storm. And thanks to all the wind and rain, the embankments in places such as Louisiana were overwhelmed, leading to extreme flooding. This chilling snap shows just how bad it got. It’s speculated that Katrina’s damages ultimately totaled over $100 billion.

20. Tornado in Kansas

A tornado in Kansas? We hope Dorothy and Toto stayed inside this time! Yep, this incredible picture was taken close to the city of Lyons in May 1959. It’s both beautiful and haunting in equal measure. But what should you do if a twister’s heading your way? Well, according to the CDC website, your best bet would be to hunker down in a room without windows and hide beneath a solid desk or table.

21. Thunderstorm in Chicago, Illinois

Has the Chicago skyline ever looked more spectacular? This jaw-dropping photograph was snapped in June 2013 while a thunderstorm raged over the city. And yes, that huge bolt of lightning did indeed strike the very top of Willis Tower. It’s the kind of weather no one wants to be caught in, so we hope everyone on the sidewalk could find cover!

22. Frozen in Chicago, Illinois

December 2004 proved to be especially cold for the residents of Chicago, Illinois. The temperature dipped below double digits just before Christmas that year, and this eye-popping snap showed the results of it. A massive block of ice had formed over a boardwalk next to Lake Michigan’s shore. Pretty amazing, wouldn’t you agree? Would you fancy walking on it, though?

23. Mammatus clouds

Cloud formations don’t get more unique than this, folks! Yes, what you’re looking at here is a group of mammatus clouds. They normally appear close to thunderstorm and anvil clouds, the latter of which are composed of “ice particles.” As for their fascinating look, the website EarthSky notes, “Most clouds are formed by rising air. But mammatus clouds are interesting because they’re formed by sinking air.”

24. Snowstorm in New York City

It’s a good thing that lady’s umbrella is red — otherwise we might’ve missed her! Yes, this chilly shot was captured in January 2016 when New York City was hit by a history-making blizzard. Parts of the Big Apple were covered in roughly 27.5 inches of snow, which was the highest recorded total going all the way back to 1869. The previous record was 26.9 inches in 2006.

25. Hurricane aerial pic over the USA

Aerial photographs of our planet can be as majestic as they come. They’re mesmerizing to look at. But that isn’t always the case. When massive storms start to form, those shots then paint a very different picture, highlighting their terrifying scale. And this satellite snap from the 1990s is a great example of that. It offers a unique perspective of nature’s power.

26. Nor’easter in Boston, Massachusetts

You can’t help but feel for the pair in this photo. Those ponchos don’t seem to be doing anything. Then again, the umbrella might’ve struggled, too. This snap was taken in the middle of a nor’easter in Boston, Massachusetts, in March 2023. These are not your standard rain showers. Instead, these weather fronts are relentless storms that form on the East Coast, with much of the wind emanating out of the northeast. Hence the name!

27. Ice storm in New York City

The person in this particular shot is a braver soul than most. Would you walk your canine friend in the middle of a freezing blizzard? A penny for the dog’s thoughts! This is yet another photo from that record-breaking snowstorm in New York City in January 2016 — Brooklyn to be exact. As we can see, the conditions brought pretty much everything to a standstill.

28. Precipitation shaft, Colorado

Nope, that’s not a smudge on the camera lens! This shot captured what’s known as a precipitation shaft in Colorado. Quite simply, it’s a pillar of rain that appears near the bottom of a cloud. It’s an eye-catching sight, wouldn’t you agree? And the rainbow here is a nice added bonus. We wouldn’t want to stand right under it, though.

29. Hurricane Delta flooding, Louisiana

The timing of Hurricane Delta couldn’t have been worse. Just a couple of months before it hit Creole, Louisiana, the state had already faced a huge storm in the shape of Hurricane Laura. It did plenty of damage, and Delta added to the headaches following its arrival in October 2020. As this picture shows, the flooding was a direct result of the second hurricane, while the other destruction came courtesy of Laura.

30. Freezing temperatures Lake Erie, New York

We’ve already seen how dicy it can be near Lake Erie in the winter, but this snap from December 2022 is on another level. Have you ever seen ice like that?! Buried beneath all those icicles was a restaurant, which felt the full force of Storm Elliot. That weather front boasted freezing winds in excess of 70 miles per hour, hitting the local community just days before Christmas.