Cirrus uncinus scenes for a lifetime, well, mine, anyway

I hope you had a chance to venture out late yesterday morning and see some of the most spectacular Cirrus (uncinus) displays with HUGE streamers that you will ever see.

The early Cirrus cloud were nothing very special, not showing clues about what was to happen a few hours later:

7:46 AM. A complex sky with Altocumulus on the right and various species of Cirrus such as Cirrus spissatus, center.

But by mid-morning, racing in from the west, these:

10:58 AM. From the Rillito Bridge at Swan, this amazing scene with Cirrus uncinus and those gigantically long tails of ice!
11:08 AM
11:08 AM. Mimics trees in a way, both reaching upward.
11:14 AM.
11:12 AM. From the Rillito Bridge at Swan again.  Kind of running around like a chicken with its hat off!  The heads of the Ci unc are overhead.
11:11 AM.
11:14 AM. One final shot.


There was an interesting  contrail distraction later that day.  Are these “castellanus” crenelations, or is it perspective?  Those knobs are usually pointed downward due to the action of the wingtip vortices that take them downward behind the plane.  Maybe they’re just sloped down at us, not puffed up.

1:10 PM.


Late in the day some Altocumulus advanced from the west, providing a nice sunset, but a layer once again impacted by aircraft holes.   Can you find them (with their trails of ice slanting downward?)

5:38 PM.

The End

Well, there is still a chance of some rain late in the month, late or after the TG holiday weekend…..  FIngers crossed.   Poor wildflower seeds.

By Art Rangno

Retiree from a group specializing in airborne measurements of clouds and aerosols at the University of Washington (Cloud and Aerosol Research Group). The projects in which I participated were in many countries; from the Arctic to Brazil, from the Marshall Islands to South Africa.


  1. Fantastic cirrus photos there, Art! Here, we’re finally getting some clearing and can see some good cumulus type clouds (a chance of hail or sleet in the forecast) instead of the usual dark low layered stuff we can get used to this time of year.

    1. Thanks, Roland. I know you take some pretty good photos yourself. Hope you have some exciting weather. We continue in the “doldrums”, except for occasional spectacular scenes aloft like yesterday.


      1. I saw that ‘oops’; pretty funny, really! I was just going to send you a 1-min movie of Zeus back in the corral, galloping back and forth. Kind of goes with “stall.”
        So gorgeous to see him do that! He’ll be there for awhile, but not permanently.

        Sorry you didn’t get to see our Ci unc blast over the horizon! Wow, that was a special sky for me. But, in only 20 min or so, it was gone. I think we need to slow down the movement of Cirrus. haha


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