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July 23, 2010

Stormy skies

In the past several months, powerful storms have wreaked havoc in many places, torrential rains in central Europe and parts of China, tornadoes in Australia, Montana and the American Midwest, and strong thunderstorms across the northeast. Now, as Tropical Storm Bonnie makes landfall in Florida and heads into the Gulf of Mexico, oil cleanup is being suspended, and the final "kill" operation is delayed for at least one more week. These storms have been destructive and deadly, but beautiful and awe-inspiring at the same time. Collected here are a handful of photographs of stormy skies, lightning strikes and storm damage from the past several months. (37 photos total)

A large storm cell moves over farmland between the towns of Ross and Stanley, North Dakota on Monday July 12, 2010. A tornado was reported to have touched down for a few minutes from the cell. (AP Photo/ The Forum, Dave Samson)

Lightning flashes across the sky over Maquoketa, Iowa Friday June 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Kevin E. Schmidt, Quad-City Times) MANDATORY CREDIT #

Lightning streams across the sky towards downtown Chicago, on Wednesday, June 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Chicago Sun Times, Tom Cruze) #

Storm clouds clear over Cook Inlet about 27 miles southeast of Anchorage, Alaska on Monday, July 5, 2010. The photo was taken around 9:48 pm Alaska Daylight Savings Time with the sun still high on the horizon. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) #

Severe thunderstorms moved through the bluegrass region of Kentucky late Monday, July 19, 2010. This lightning strike was captured near Maysville, Kentucky. (AP Photo/The Ledger Independent, Terry Prather) #

A farmer works in a field southwest of WaKeeney, Kansas with ominous clouds looming overhead on Sunday, June 20, 2010. Severe weather battered parts of northwest Kansas with heavy rain, wind, hail and isolated tornadoes. (AP Photo/The Hays Daily News, Steven Hausler) #

Chris Dickey of Commerce city police department holds golf-ball-sized hailstones on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 in Commerce City, Colorado. Thunderstorms swept along the Front Range and eastern Colorado plains on Wednesday with several reports of tornadoes and strong winds that demolished a barn. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Hyoung Chang) #

This photo provided by Harry Gillway, the Kimball County Sheriff, shows hail damage to the rear window of a car in Kimball, Nebraska on Monday, May 24, 2010. Storms dumped heavy rain and hail on Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. (AP Photo/Kimball County Sheriff, Harry Gillway) #

Storm clouds gather over the skyline of Bangkok, Thailand on July 22, 2010. (REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom) #

Lightning strikes Bangkok, Thailand on May 24, 2010. (REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis) #

A funnel cloud forms near Grand Forks International Airport Thursday afternoon June 17, 2010. A number of tornadoes were reported in the northern Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota into the evening Thursday. (AP Photo/The Grand Forks Herald, John Stennes) #

Debris flies through the air as a freak tornado tears through the coastal town of Lennox Head, Australia on June 3, 2010. The storm leveled 12 homes and damaged another 30, with twisting winds carving out a 300 meter-wide path of destruction, injuring six people and leaving thousands without power. (ROSS TUCKERMAN/AFP/Getty Images) #

An aerial view of Wadena, Minnesota, seen on Friday June 18, 2010 shows homes destroyed after tornadoes ripped through the area Thursday night. (AP Photo/The Wadena Pioneer Journal, Brian Hansel) #

Debris lies scattered along Main Street in Millbury, Ohio, Sunday, June 6, 2010. Authorities say tornadoes and thunderstorms that swept through the Midwest overnight killed a number of people in Ohio, destroyed 50 homes and damaged a high school gymnasium where graduation was to be held Sunday. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) #

Lightning strikes in Poyang county in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province on July 20, 2010. Much of China has been suffering flooding and landslides after weeks of torrential downpours. At least 146 people have died since the start of this month, as a result of the rains, and another 40 are missing. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

A large funnel cloud touches down west of Albert Lea, Minnesota, early evening Thursday, June 16, 2010. Several tornadoes were reported in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa Thursday evening, some causing major damage. (AP Photo/The Globe-Gazette, Arian Schuessler) #

Lightning lights up the night sky of Roswell, New Mexico as a thunderstorm passes through town on July 14, 2010. (AP Photo/Roswell Daily Record, Mark Wilson) #

Main Street Casino staff members watch a second thunderstorm approach after they just survived a tornado in Billings, Montana on Sunday, June 20, 2010. Buildings were heavily damaged after a tornado touched down near the corner of Main Street and Lake Elmo Drive. (AP Photo/Billings Gazette, Larry Mayer) #

A child's bicycle is shown, impaled into the side of a home after a tornado hit part of Millbury, Ohio on Sunday, June 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) #

Darlene Sheehy collects items from her kitchen, Monday, June 7, 2010, after a tornado destroyed her home in Millbury, Ohio. (AP Photo/J.D. Pooley) #

Lightning strikes west of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, Ontario on Wednesday, May 26, 2010. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Pawel Dwulit) #

Waves batter a merchant vessel stranded along the coast during a heavy storm in Valparaiso City, Chile, 121 km (75 miles) northwest of Santiago on July 6, 2010. (REUTERS/Eliseo Fernandez) #

Lightning strikes near the Hilton Hotel during a storm in Mexico city May 23, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel Aguilar) #

A storm rolls in above New York City at sunset on June 17th, 2010. (© Alain Aguilar) #

Multiple lightning strikes above New York City during a storm on on May 2nd, 2010. Photo taken from West New York, New Jersey, looking across the Hudson River. (© Alain Aguilar) #

A severe thunderstorm with a rotating wall cloud is seen over Texas County, Oklahoma near the community of Eva, Oklahoma on Monday, May 31, 2010. (AP Photo/The Guymon Daily Herald, Shawn Yorks) #

Paul Verheyen looks over the damage to his house caused by a severe storm and possible tornado in Leamington, Ontario on Sunday, June 6, 2010. Verheyen and his family were luckily not home during the storm. The tree that crashed through the house landed on his son's bed. (AP Photo/Dave Chidley, The Canadian Press) #

Volunteer workers remove items from a field, Monday, June 7, 2010, after a tornado destroyed at least 50 homes in Millbury, Ohio. (AP Photo/J.D. Pooley) #

Lightning strikes the Antelope Valley near Pearblossom, California on Thursday, July 15, 2010. Southern California faces more ferocious heat coupled to the threat of thunderstorms and lightning strikes that could ignite more desert wildfires. (AP Photo Mike Meadows) #

Clouds form a tropical storm over Havana, Cuba on July 2, 2010. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan) #

A flash of lightning illuminates the sky over the 2,500-year-old Ancient Parthenon temple, at the Acropolis hill during a heavy rainfall in Athens, Greece early on Monday, June 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) #

Animated image of a large thunderstorm made up of two photographs taken in sequence from the International Space Station above Malaysia in December of 2009. (NASA/Johnson Space Center) #

Lightning bolts light the sky above Rosenblatt Stadium where South Carolina plays Oklahoma in an NCAA College World Series baseball game in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Eric Francis) #

A damaged home along State Route 109 in Swan Creek Township in Fulton County, Ohio, Sunday, June 6, 2010, that burned apparently after being struck by lightning during a storm Saturday night. (AP Photo/The Toledo Blade, Dave Zapotosky) #

Lightning strikes the top of a building in Foshan in south China's Guangdong province on Monday, June 21, 2010. (AP Photo) #

A plane flies near a rainbow above Ankaroa bay off Easter Island, 3,700 km off the Chilean coast in the Pacific Ocean, on July 12, 2010. (MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images) #

Beneath a lightning storm to the north, Robert Morgan fishes along the banks of a marsh near Lake Boudreaux May 28, 2010 near Cocodrie, Louisiana. (Win McNamee/Getty Images) #