Weather Blog

Great time lapse video of lenticular clouds. Speaking of which...

Great time lapse video of lenticular clouds. Speaking of which...

While Mt. Rainier has been getting all the attention lately for lenticular clouds, it turns out our tallest mountain does not have a monopoly.

Dr. Dale Ireland over in Silverdale captured this great time lapse video from Thursday showing lenticular clouds forming over the Olympics' Mt. Jupiter during the afternoon. It's a great illustration of the fact that while lenticular clouds appear to be standing still in real time, watching on video shows that there is actually quite a bit of cloud movement.

I think of it akin to being in the pitch dark but shining a bright flood light on a passing train. You only see the parts lit up but the train is still moving in the dark. In the clouds' situation, there is just enough lift as the air passes over the mountain peak to condense it into a cloud, and when the air sinks on the other side, it dries back out, is no longer saturated, and "disappears".

Lenticular clouds are usually a sign of rain within 24 hours -- at least over Mt. Rainier -- as that flow that creates the clouds usually occurs just before a storm's arrival.

Speaking of signs of rain...

James Rombold of Tacoma took this great shot of a halo around the moon Thursday night.

Rings around the sun and moon are also signs rain is approaching because it's the thin cirrus clouds that contain ice crystals that are reflecting the sun or moon light to make the halo. Cirrus clouds are the first part of an approaching cold front. (Although it's not 100% accurate as rain is not in the forecast here until Saturday.)

Speaking of ice crystals...

Mike Radel was on the Nooksack River near Mt. Baker last weekend and saw many instances of this ice attached to sticks.

He described them as very delicate and "kinda hair-like."

This is called "Needle Ice." I did a blog on Needle Ice in October when some viewers captured a similar scene up in Chinook Pass.

As the water freezes it creates higher pressure, squeezing a little more water from the soil or whatever the ice has clung to out the edge through perhaps a tiny crack. That water freezes -- lengthening the ice "needle" and the process repeats.

Speaking of water freezing, take a look at this incredible video out of Cleveland, where a small lighthouse froze solid along Lake Erie.

Cleveland has spent every hour since Dec. 12 below freezing with several of those hours between 15-20 degrees. So you can see how sea spray might freeze on contact.

Speaking of spray...

Rick Rummel snapped this strange photo from Sandy Point near Ferndale on Dec. 5. It looks like a narrow band of rain or snow falling from the cloud, but I've never seen such a small, tight rain shower before -- although snow makes a little more sense since it'd be better affected by a mid-level wind to give it that curved shape as it fell.

Or maybe it's an optical trick?

Speaking of optical tricks...

Have a great weekend!