Photograph Captures ‘Absolutely Breathtaking’ Storm From Arkwright

Christy McVaugh took this photograph around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday as a downdraft appeared near the Lake Erie shoreline. She said from the moment the cloud formed until it disappeared into the night, the view was “absolutely breathtaking.” Photo by Christy McVaugh

ARKWRIGHT — “Absolutely breathtaking.”

That’s how Christy McVaugh described seeing a powerful storm move across Chautauqua County on Sunday evening.

McVaugh said she loves to watch storms roll past her home, and that was certainly the case Sunday when a wet downdraft formed near the Lake Erie shoreline around 7:30 p.m.

“My mom was running around buttoning up some things on our property knowing that the wind was going to pick up,” she said. “At first it didn’t look like much — just some angry clouds — but it quickly turned into something concerning.”

McVaugh took a photograph of the storm as it moved by in Arkwright and posted it to social media. The post quickly went viral on Facebook.

“My mom and I stood their silently watching it make its way up the lake, and just after I took the picture I literally had chills go up my spine,” McVaugh said. “It was an incredible and intense experience, and I am glad I had the chance to witness it.”

“We saw it form and then disappear into the darkness,” she continued. “Absolutely breathtaking.”

Follow Eric Tichy at