Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Storm Clouds at Sunset

We don't get much rain out here in New Mexico.  Average annual rainfall is about 9.5 inches.  And when the rains come, they are almost always scattered, falling unpredictably from place to place, like the rain you see in the image below, rather than uniformly across the land.  Frequently, the rain doesn't even make it to the ground because the air is so dry (a phenomenon called "virga").

But sometimes the atmosphere sucks the moisture up from the land and builds the clouds . . . oh, the clouds . . . towering clouds that grow and swirl and spread like nothing you've ever seen before!

Last Sunday, September 17, was one of those days.  We had scattered clouds all day, but toward evening, the conditions were right for one of those monster clouds.

As we were eating dinner, Linda noticed that the light outside was changing.  So I poked my head out the back door and . . . Whoa!

7:02p MDT

The sun was setting, and the light changed quickly as the cloud exploded in slow motion:

7:05p MDT

Here's a closer look:

7:07p MDT
Notice how, even under this huge cloud, the rain (lower right quadrant of the image) was only falling in scattered areas.

An even closer look shows the power of the moving air:

As the sun fell below the horizon, the lower portion of the cloud progressively lost its color until all was gray:

7:12p MDT

7:14p MDT

The cloud show was over in less than 15 minutes.  And then . . . the lightning show began!

If you would like to see these images in a larger format, please visit my photography website, Todos Juntos Photography, by clicking here.


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful sequence of images along with your narrative of how it unfolded. Reminds of the many scenes I'd see from my second floor bedroom window in the SE heights growing up. Your pictures have a nice vantage point across the desert flora with the Sandias in the background--is this from your home or do you drive somewhere to get this angle? Jon (