Weather Blog

Awe-inspiring from the ground, nerve-racking from the air

Awe-inspiring from the ground, nerve-racking from the air
Storm rages over Downtown Seattle. (Photo courtesy: Breanne Hickey)

Mother Nature has really put on a show the last two weeks, with rain, snow, hail, lightning, graupel, sleet -- even report of a funnel cloud.

But aside from raucous performances of "precipitation theater", she's had her paint brush out too.

Check out these amazing photos taken on March 2 (the scattered thunderstorms day) from Alki Beach, taken by Breanne Hickey of West Seattle, who submitted to our YouNews site.

Here is another photo:

Those bumpy clouds over the Space Needle are called Mammauts clouds and they are a byproduct of intense thunderstorms and showcase the turbulence going on inside the clouds.

Mammatus clouds are rare for Seattle due to lack of said intense thunderstorms, but common in the Midwest.

Pretty to look at, but something you don't want to be flying near.

Speaking of weather conditions not all that great for flying, you have to see what was going on in the skies on Feb. 24 -- this is the day after our snow event around the Puget Sound region when we still had a Puget Sound Convergence Zone waging its battle right over Seattle.

Convergence zones are marked by collisions of south and north winds, but in this case, we also had a mid layer of clouds flowing east toward a low offshore, and upper level winds carrying clouds south to north --- in essence three different wind directions as you climbed higher in the sky.

This is known as wind shear and if they layers are close together can wreak havoc on a lot of things -- although it is more the vertical wind shear -- columns of rising air next to columns of sinking air -- that are more stressing to aviators.

But watch these two time lapse videos, both taken from the University of Washington Atmospheric Sciences Building. The first one is looking west, the second is looking south. Watch how many which ways you can find the clouds blowing, and watch for how the clouds swirl and rotate where the north and south winds are colliding in the convergence zone over Seattle.

It was too cloudy to see much of how it played out over Silverdale from Dr. Dale Ireland's camera. But going back a day to the snow event on the 23rd, Dale's camera does capture some interesting clouds.

Note as the camera gets closer to 4 pm there appear to be funnel clouds that form along a squall line, but UW Research Meteorologist Mark Albright seemed to think it's what's called an Arcus Cloud

Finally, Back to March 2 when we saw that cloud in Seattle -- it made for a nearly all-day rainbow over in Silverdale at Dale's Camera:

Have a great weekend!