As beautiful and serene as Mother Nature can be, from time to time she likes to remind us of just how powerful she is- and who is really in charge of things around here. While many people travel to different parts of the world to appreciate and enjoy different natural wonders, sometimes it’s the natural wonders that come to visit people just going about their day. In these instances, we are reminded that nature sometimes has a mind of her own; and if she is upset she will let us know about it in a big way!
Although many people enjoy pretty mild weather on a day to day basis in various parts of the world and in different climates, some people get the chance to experience much more extreme weather phenomena. While some of them can be extremely beautiful and memorable to anyone who sees it first hand and survives to tell the tale, others show just how vengeful nature can be with little to no warning, but lasting effects.
In this list we review the 25 instances of Mother Nature showing us that while she is always around us in the background, sometimes she enjoys taking the spotlight too.
Avalanches are something not many people experience because they only happen in certain locations with high, snow-covered mountains.
While some avalanches are small because they only consist of dry powdery snow and do not cause much damage, other avalanches can be extremely dangerous because of their huge size and speeds that can reach up to eighty miles an hour.
In addition to the snow barreling down a mountain and covering anything in its way, oftentimes the more dangerous avalanches include a mixture of snow, ice, rocks, and any other debris is might have picked up along the way down.
Hailstorms seem like an especially vengeful way for Mother Nature to remind us that she doesn’t value our material possessions nearly as much as we do. Houses and cars are usually the most affected recipients of the hard lumps of ice that are formed in layers among the clouds and fall once they get too heavy.
While some hail can be relatively small and harmless, there are times during a hail storm when ice formations as big as 6 inches have been recorded!
Hail typically causes property damage of some kind- and makes a lot of noise while doing so too.
Also referred to as a tropical storm because they form almost exclusively in tropical climates, hurricanes are no stranger to the spotlight.
Because they form over the water, they can be monitored in terms of the strength, speed, and direction they are headed in.
This allows time for people to prepare for the strong winds and rain that is making their way towards them, but the actual effects of a hurricane won’t be fully known until it passes over the area, which can take hours. Once a hurricane moves on, it can leave large amounts of water and wind damage that can cost the affected areas a lot of time and resources to fix.
22 Ice Storms
While “normal” winter weather of snow and freezing temperatures is to be expected and prepared for in many parts of the world, ice storms are a not-too-common result of freezing temperature and rain. Unlike hailstorms, which produce large formations of ice that are more or less in the shape of a ball and come pelting out of the sky, ice storms are typically a bit more gentle as they come down.
It's the aftermath, once the rain has landed and then frozen over where the real problems occur.
Once it gets a chance to accumulate, however, there is nothing gentle about it. Ice storms can affect streets, personal property, and power lines if there is enough accumulation.
Sinkholes are a curious phenomena due to the different ways they can form. They can occur very suddenly through human activity like implementing new natural water-drainage patterns that put too much weight on the existing land and cause it to collapse, or they can occur over a period of many decades through natural causes such as erosion.
Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that wherever a sinkhole forms, people are dramatically affected.
Because of the, at times, sudden nature of their formation, it is nearly impossible to predict or prevent a sinkhole from forming, which just goes to show that Mother Nature doesn’t ask for permission before she acts.
More commonly found in flatter lands, tornadoes have a very distinct look when they are forming in the sky that can be entrancing to watch. Starting slowly at first, it picks up speed to look like a funnel that eventually touches down and picks up almost everything in its path.
Tornadoes last for varying amounts of time, come in all different sizes, and sometimes even have multiple vortex rotating at the same time!
There are some states in the United States that are so accustomed to tornadoes, they are considered a part of “Tornado Alley”. Homes in places that experience frequent tornadoes often include a basement or even an underground shelter specifically built for a tornado.
The results of mudslides are most often on the solitary roads that so many people depend on to get places near mountainous areas. Usually caused by snowmelt or heavy, prolonged rains, mudslides carry soil, debris and rock with them as they slide down.
These materials are then dumped in the middle of roads, causing significant delays in travel and dangerous road conditions until the remnants of the mudslide can be cleared away.
Unfortunately, mudslides can also claim entire homes and towns on its downward journey. Depending on the size of the mudslide, it can even alter large portions of coastlines!
18 Lightning Storms
Seen from a safe distance, lightning storms can be one of the most beautiful natural phenomena that occur, relatively frequently, in various parts of the world.
Usually accompanied by rain and thunder, a lightning storm is sure to cause people to stop and stare in wonder at the jagged bolts released from the sky.
Although many lightning storms do not bring damage, because a bolt of lightning can travel very quickly from the clouds to the ground and is extremely powerful and hot, if it does strike anything directly it can be very dangerous and will leave a lasting impression.
17 Dust Storms
Typically common in the more arid and semi-arid regions of the world, dust storms can literally take large amounts of sand and dirt from one place and dump them in another. Usually aided by droughts and strong winds, dust storms can vary widely in size and in the length of time it takes to go over a certain area.
While dust storms are raging on, visibility is very limited and a simple function like breathing can be affected.
Because of all the sand and dust they carry, people who live in areas where there are frequent dust storms may develop health conditions related to large amounts of dust being inhaled over many years.
There are some places in this world that seem to be constantly experiencing earthquakes of varying magnitudes without a disruption to daily life. In fact, some earthquakes are so mild that people can sleep right through them and not even realize it happened until the news informs them the next morning!
Other times though, earthquakes will not be ignored and leave their visible mark on personal property and public spaces.
Most of the time Mother Earth holds the earth steady for us to go about our daily life, other times she literally shakes the earth to remind us of where we stand.
Watching lightly falling snow can be one of the more relaxing things to do during the winter time. In fact, many people often hope for snow to mark the official beginning of winter and actively wish for it on days like Christmas.
While making snowmen and having snowball fights can be a fond wintertime memory for many, the story changes when blizzards descend on cities and towns.
Blizzards are quite the opposite of softly falling snow and can bring with them raging winds and property damage. Going outside to find inches of snow can be especially upsetting when you know you have to shovel your way back to civilization.
14 Volcanic Eruptions
The vast majority of people on this earth have never experienced a volcanic eruption, thankfully! Volcanic eruptions are loud, oftentimes unexpected, and will stop any and all activity for the people who are close enough. There are many dormant volcanoes around the world and others which, while not dormant, certainly don’t see a lot of action.
But there are also volcanoes which are considered “active” and have been flowing for decades!
There is no stopping a lava flow because of the unbelievably hot temperatures (up to 1,200 degrees), so entire populations have had to relocate if they are in an area in the path of a volcanic eruption.
13 Huge Waves
Imagine spending a nice day at the beach or lakefront, watching the soothing back and forth motion of the waves… until you see a huge wall of water about to crash onto whatever surface you are standing on.
People who visit large bodies of water, like the ocean, are typically warned about the unpredictability and power of huge waves through numerous signs telling them of this danger.
Because waves are so different in size, speed, and power, it is not easy to predict when the waters are churning up a wave that can sometimes look more like a moving wall of water.
Although some wildfires may be started through natural causes such as lightning striking a tree, sometimes wildfires start innocently with a short and controlled burn.
Fire can be unpredictable, however, and the slow and controlled burn can all-too-quickly rage into a wild and extremely dangerous emergency.
Because wind patterns and previous lack of rainfall affect the strength and speed with which a wildfire spreads, they are truly erratic and can be very difficult to extinguish. Wildfires typically occur in rural areas and they can wipe out entire crops and vegetation which can have lasting effects on the animals and people who live in the area.
11 Strong Winds
Strong winds are usually associated with more well-known and powerful weather phenomena like hurricanes and tornados. However, even if they do not reach the powerful levels of hurricanes and tornadoes, strong winds can and still do a lot of damage on their own.
Wind speeds during windstorms can exceed well over 34 miles an hour, which means it can significantly alter whatever is in its path.
Although some windstorms can last just a few minutes as a result of a thunderstorm, some windstorms can last for hours or even for days. Capable of leveling trees and lifting smaller objects in the air, windstorms can have lasting effects.
10 Disease-Spreading Insects
As if shifting and unpredictable weather patterns weren’t enough to remind us to keep our eye on fickle Mother Nature, she also throws in some random flying insects to ruin our picnics and annoy us on our relaxing walks through the trees. While they may be annoying, because they fly in our faces and around our food, most insects are usually not harmful.
There are some insects that are not only irritating, they are also downright dangerous and can cause a lot of damage if they manage to sting.
To make things worse, some of these dangerous insects have wings and can travel long distances and cover a lot of ground just out of reach of people.
There is perhaps no better example of how drastically vengeful Mother Nature can be than deserts. From looking at a barren, sand-filled desert, one might not be able to imagine it filled with lush green plants and bodies of water. However, 'abundant' is exactly what many of today’s deserts could have been described as many, many years ago.
There is evidence that some of the world’s deserts, including the well known Sahara desert, were once densely populated by different life forms.
The process of turning a green landscape into nothing but huge mounds of sand can take many years, which only goes to show that Mother Nature can bide her time.
Not many living creatures can go without water for long periods of times, but sometimes Mother Nature likes to put that to the test. There are many accounts throughout history of entire populations being displaced and severely affected due to a drought. In addition to affecting people directly, droughts also affect animals, both land and water critters.
Crops are affected as well and entire harvesting seasons can be lost due to a long drought. While prior planning can potentially prevent some of the more severe effects of a drought, the uncertainty in knowing when it will rain makes it clear just how much we depend on Mother Nature’s kindness.
7 Vines Taking Over
You might think that vines are relatively harmless. After all they are plants and no matter how fast they grow, they can theoretically be cleared away by hand or with a simple tool.
However, there are times when vines are allowed to grow for such a long period of time, that it almost seems as if Mother Nature is trying to reclaim whatever is caught in the vines’ grip.
Whether it’s an abandoned car, toolshed, or entire house, vines can and do grow around, under, and over entire structures. At that point, clearing away vines might not seem like such an easy task.
6 Heat Waves
Summertime often means a rise in activity as people go out and stay out to enjoy warm weather. But all the fun and games changes with extremely high temperatures. Trying to be productive outside while the sun is beating down on you and it feels like you can’t take a deep breath is pretty impossible.
Heat waves can last for many days and outdoor activities might be affected because of the risk of over-exertion in activities that may not even be overly strenuous on a normal day. If you don’t have an air conditioner at home, oftentimes the only escape is cool public spaces; but who wants to hang out in the frozen food section of grocery store all day?