Your cloud dairy for May 9th

Haha, most readers won’t even notice! But maybe some cow-centric, instead of cloud-centric, folks will drop by, raising the worth of this blog to above $35 if sold….that according to a “biz” site.

Had a rainbow yesterday. Hope you noticed. It was pretty early and overhead west. I think the clouds did not have ice in them. The rain echoes were not showing up on the radar, suggesting the beam went over the tops. Sounding suggested tops might have been as cool as -5°C.    In any case, the drops were able to tip the bucket a couple of more times, and along with yesterday afternoon’s brief, light rain showers our total has climbed to 0.37 inches for the storm. Not bad, though as in money, you always want more.

These storm breakup days are always our prettiest, and that’s often what this site is about, being pretty. Yesterday had some fabulous scenes;  couldn’t stop shuttering cam. It is a real neurotic compulsive behavior pattern, as afflicts some of us cloud and storm-centric folk. Check Mr. Olbinsky’s work; his work goes beyond phenomenal whether you want a wedding photographer or want to see a storm chasing video.  But it takes that kind of eccentric energy to be special, to stand out as he does.

Here, though, we let the storms and cloud scenes, such as they are, hope for the best, and let them come to us….  Kind of a lazy storm chaser’s attitude.

5:49 AM. I really do think this rain came out of clouds that had no ice…maybe 70% sure.
6:27 AM. Stratus fractus springing to life as Cumulus clouds lining the sides of Sam Ridge (Samaniego). Showed how much instability, the ease of which the slightly warmer air in these clouds could jut upward yesterday
6:49 AM. Just pretty and so green after the rain.
6:50 AM. Same scene, focusing in on a highlight.
7:01 AM. More prettiness in a highlighted baby turret.
7:01 AM. In case you missed it, here it is again, a little zoomed.
9:03 AM. Rise of the Cumulonimbus capillatus incus (has anvil). This scene had a lot of portent for the day. You knew more would be forming, maybe drift over us later.
9:33 AM. I thought this was a pretty neat scene, though its just a cloud shadow lining up with the rise of the Catalina Mountains.
9:33 AM. I thought this was a pretty neat scene, though its just a cloud shadow lining up with the rise of the Catalina Mountains.
9:36 AM. Hmmmm. What the HECK is happening now? Low center was off in the direction, headed for us, with still cooler air aloft. But where are the Cumulonimbus clouds that should come with it? (They formed rapidly, but later.)
2:23 PM. By mid-afternoon, things were swell all around, lots of Cumulonimbus clouds. They seemed to fade, though, as they marched toward Catalinaland, as this complex did. The rather sharp line in the lower part of the photo, and beyond which you can see distant clouds, is where the melting level was. This is often appears to be the “cloud base” but its really not in the sense of having cloud droplets. If you were to fly in it, all you would see is rain and melting snow just below this line, and just snowflakes above it. If the whole sky was covered in this, we’d call it Nimbostratus, and say the base was at that melting level.
3:42 PM. Another pretty major band appears to be headed this way. DIdn't make it.
3:42 PM. Another pretty major band appears to be headed this way, rotating around that low center, shifting northward.  Didn’t make it.
6:35 PM. Somewhat promising that a nice dark line and heavy shafts were out there, thinking they might shift northward again. Nope. Fizzled.

Still cold aloft, so having some nice Cumulus today is in the bag, the early Stratocumulus devolving into Cu, that is.

The End

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. Art; Those first 6 cloud scenes look just like what I’ve been seeing here for months! Don’t you miss it?? 🙂

    1. Hi, Roland,
      Months of it might do me in, but as you can imagine, with the mountains right there, and being a desert, I can’t get enough.
      of those scenes here. Sounds like you’re close to mountains there in Vancouver.

      1. Well, I’m close enough to see them- when the day is sunny, that’s for sure. Do you know a guy called Wolf Read? He used to live in Washington & Oregon. He’s now living in BC REALLY close to the mountains. And- he had a lot more rain than even me over the past few months.

        1. Sorry to say, I don’t know Wolf Reed, Roland. I know those mountains in north Vancouver get, what, over 100 inches?

          1. I’d say 80-100 inches approximately-on average. This year? Most likely more.

    1. Yeah, it’s been quite a year, but lately things have warmed up. Today with high cloudiness (cirrus, cirro-stratus) we have temperatures in the 70’s. That’s fine with me!

      1. But now the clouds are back, Roland. West wind of 67 mph in the Strait yesterday! Yikes.

  2. Art,
    I have been a fan of your Guide to the Sky posters for nearly a decade now. Everyone should have one –or several– of your posters in their home or office. Is there a way you could post a link on your website to the companies that print/distribute your poster so I can order more? It would be really swell if you could.
    On behalf of all the cloudspotters out there….
    Maria Ruth 😉

    1. Thanks, Maria, for your VERY kind comments about the cloud chart poster, and I could not agree more with you that everyone should at LEAST one! Presently, there is a poster only for about one in every 2000 people in the US (200,000 sold). So, we have some work to do, and money to be gained! 🙂

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