09/06/2014 07:24 BST | Updated 09/06/2014 07:59 BST

Stunning Images Of Supercell Thunderstorm Rolling Over New Mexico & Spitting Out 4 Inch Hailstones (PICTURES)

A powerful supercell thunderstorm roiled over New Mexico this weekend, spitting out mammoth hailstones measuring four inches in diameter.

Tornado warnings were issued in the state, with residents being advised to take shelter in basements and to cover themselves with pillows and blankets.

Supercells are rare thunderstorms characterised by a persistently rotating updraft (called a mesocyclone), the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office explains.

supercell thunderstorm

The mesocyclone pictured north of Roswell

They are potentially dangerous as they can last several hours and generate violent tornadoes as well as downpours and oversize hailstones.

Last month stunning time-lapse video of a spinning supercell storm in Wyoming was posted online.

Photo gallery Supercell storm New Mexico See Gallery

The clip showed nature at its most spectacular, with the towering thunderstorm created by warm air from the desert mixing with cold air from the Rockies.


Photo gallery Supercell storm New Mexico See Gallery