By Tom Mendelsohn

THUNDEROUS dark clouds gather above the barren Botswana landscape before a downpour of biblical proportions

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The surreal weather filled the sky over Botswana to mark the beginning of the country's rain season

These foreboding images capture the very moment the heavens opened at the start of the rainy season two years ago.

But currently a fearsome drought is gripping the region.
Temperatures are hitting a sweltering 43 degrees Celsius in places which should only reach the high 30s at this time of year.

The storms are due to start any day now, and farmers and wildlife alike are waiting desperately for the cooling downpours it will bring.

These breathtaking images were taken by Lee Ouzman, 62, a retired pilot who runs a safari supplies business in Maun, Botswana, and show the suddenness and ferocity with which these storms can take hold.

Calmer skiers: The landscape has healthy glow after the passing of the storm

Lee said:  “This was one of the very first storms of the year. 

“It had been extremely hot until that day, and the end of a bitter drought was very welcome.

“When the rains come, animals heave a sigh of relief – they can start dying of thirst at the end of the hot season.

“The clouds are beginning to form in Botswana now, and we should get the storms any day now.”

The storms, lasting from mid-November until the beginning of April, can become very violent and heavy hailstones and lightning is a major hazard.

They form very suddenly, and the dusty, colourful skies seen in his other pictures can turn very dark, very abruptly as the heavens open and pelt the ground.

These intense weather patterns form when the ground becomes so hot from the sun that it warms the air above it, causing water in the air to condense and form storm clouds.