The September 2012 edition of National Geographic Magazine features a cover story that asks a question that has likely been on many people's minds in recent years: What's up with the weather? The story investigates some of the weather extremes seen around the world, from tornado outbreaks to devastating floods, and features a series of arresting images along the way. Click through for more highlights from the issue, on newsstands since Aug. 28, and available for iPad on the App Store.
Above, the biggest dust storm in living memory rolls into Phoenix, Ariz., on July 5, 2011, reducing visibility to zero. Desert thunderstorms kicked up a wall of dust and sand a mile high.
Fortified by a levee, a house near Vicksburg survives a Yazoo River flood in May 2011. Snowmelt and intense rains eight times as much rainfall as usual in parts of the Mississippi River watershed triggered floods that caused three to four billion dollars in damage.
"It was really cranking," photographer Mike Hollingshead said of this tornado, which was packing 130 mph (209 kph) winds. But to him, that was not a cue to run the other way. A dedicated storm chaser, he shot this funnel on June 20, 2011, outside Bradshaw, where it derailed freight-train cars.
Tumbleweeds catch in the furrows of an unplanted cotton field near Brownfield, southwest of Lubbock. High winds and a record-breaking heat wave led to damaging erosion, said Buzz Cooper, who runs a cotton gin nearby. "It was just like a hot fan in an oven," he said.
Rainwater cascades onto a Chengdu resident rushing up a flight of stairs from an underground garage. An unusually severe downpour on July 3, 2011, flooded streets and knocked out electricity in the city, which is the capital of Sichuan Province in central China.
Read the full story on recent weather extremes in the September 2012 edition of National Geographic Magazine.
See some of the other images that go with the story.
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