Weather Blog

A new look back at Mt. Rainier's most dazzling display ever

A new look back at Mt. Rainier's most dazzling display ever
Photo copyright Marcy LaGagnier / JCM Photography

December 5th marks the two year anniversary of what is arguably the most dazzling display of lenticular clouds over Mt. Rainier ever captured on film.

(OK, so I'm a little biased :) )

And now the show can be even more appreciated as some new photographs from that day have surfaced.

Back in 2008, the mountain put on a show like no other, with several thin layers of clouds stacked in multiple towers that gave illusions of alien spacecraft or freak funnel clouds.

The photos from our blog that day went viral on the Internet and to this day, I still get e-mails from around the world commenting on the photos.

Now, there are even more photos to enjoy. Last week, I received a packet in the mail from Marcy LaGagnier, a local photographer from Puyallup. Turns out, she saw the display that day and spent the entire afternoon at Thun Field snapping off photo after photo -- more than 100 in all -- as the clouds twirled and morphed above the mountain.

But aside from Rainier -- she captured something we hadn't seen before -- apparently there was a similar show over another mountain in the distance. She gathers based on location it might be Mt. Adams. First, here is that photo:

And here is a photo of the visible satellite image of that day, courtesy of the UW. Some high clouds around make it tough to see if it was Mt. Adams -- maybe Mt. Hood?

(Dr. Dale Ireland has compiled a time lapse video of the visible imagery that day)

Anyway, below are some of the other photos LaGagnier caught that day. She says if you're interested, you can see some of her work on display at the Hangar Inn Restaurant at Thun Field, or you can buy prints of these five featured here in the blog. She also has a video compilation of the over 100 photos she captured that day. You can e-mail her at

(All photos used here are copyrighted to JCM photography and used with permission from the photographer.)

Also new this week, some video from that day shot by Luke Meyers -- the first video I've seen of the day:


And if you're interested, here is how lenticular clouds are formed.



P.S. By the way, some of you have e-mailed me about those original Rainier photos that you may have had e-mailed to you (there are like 5 versions running around) -- one version has a picture purporting to be Mt. St. Helens. It's actually Mt. Fuji, and was not part of my original blog. Someone along the way pasted that in the chain and then got the caption wrong :)