Is That A Flying Saucer On Top Of Mt. Rainier?

Tools

By By Steve Pool

SEATTLE - Some have thought they sure looked like alien ships, but the "flying saucer" clouds sometimes seen over Mt. Rainier have a much less spooky explanation.

They're really called "lenticular" clouds, and they're caused is formed when warm, moist air runs into the surface of Mt. Rainier. The mountain's topography forces the air upward, which cools and condenses the air -- turning it into a cloud.

As the air sinks back on the other side of the mountain, it dries out and the cloud dissipates. That's why it just hangs over the summit area.

(Although it looks like it is "hanging" over the mountain, air is continually flowing over the summit.)

For more information, check out the KOMO Weather FAQ.

Your Photos

YouNews Up! Up! And away! Up! Up! And away!
When I saw this dramatic cloud to the north, it reminded me of smoke, rising in billows until it hits the jet stream, then it's pulled hundreds of miles east. I had to capture it quickly. Within minutes the effect had faded.
YouNews Inside an osprey nest Inside an osprey nest
For my girlfriends birthday we had a party at her parents. We knew the nest was there but the owner hadn't seen or heard the osprey for a day or two. He asked me to fly my drone up and see if any was wrong. I flew up and found that there were two eggs inside.
YouNews Our Garden Our Garden
The growing season has been great.

The secret to this garden is simple.
I used recycled grass clippings.