Thursday, August 2, 2018

Monsoon Mammatus Clouds

It's "monsoon season" here in New Mexico, when we get a lot of weird clouds and occasionally some rain and/or hail.

Tuesday evening (7/31), right before sunset, was one of those times.  We knew something was up when we looked out our window and saw everything bathed in yellow light, which was being reflected off the underside of the storm cloud.

The most interesting feature of this storm system were the mammatus clouds.  

Composed primarily of ice, they are formed by cold air sinking down to form the udder-like pockets in opposition to the warm air rising by convection.  While they look weird and foreboding, they aren't the heart of the storm . . . and they can appear around, before, or even after severe weather.  You can read more about these clouds by clicking here.

In Tuesday night's case, the mammatus clouds preceded the rain and hail.  We got about 1/4" of rain and about 5 minutes of marble-sized hail . . . and a 90-minute power outage.

Here are a few more pics of the clouds as the evening sun was eventually blocked by clouds in the west.

Otherworldly, eh?

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


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