Posts Tagged virga

A step back to Summer storminess and some cloud phenomena

Hello All,

Apologies for the break here, the main reason has been that the weather has been pretty good of late so I have usually be out on my bike or wandering getting new material for the blog to file in my archive for later use. The weather has broken after an extended period of good warm sun….typically as the British we moaned as it was too hot about a day into it. Now it’s raining, people are moaning about that. Sigh.

Talking of the photography archive, I have decided that upon a scoot through, I would post some images from the summer storms and rain we had last year as there are a few phenomena to make you aware of.

One day there will be a pub quiz asking about this stuff and you’ll be glad, trust me.

First off, is the first clear occurrence I have seen of a pileus cloud. Usually spotted over mountains and such, this was over a very tall cumulus cloud as the showers sprung up around me. This is also called a “scarf cloud or a “cap cloud” by those who can’t handle a small latin word :p

Mr Wikipedia states that “a pileus found atop a cumulus cloud often foreshadows transformation into a cumulonimbus cloud, as it indicates a strong updraft within the cloud; Pilei clouds indicate that the parent cloud is growing rapidly, has plenty of moisture, and is highly unstable” so I am not making the storms up or over dramatising the weather in these posts. Weather don’t lie!

See? Pileus, here as a cap on the big white sunlit cumulus

See? Pileus, here as a cap on the big white sunlit cumulus

The next couple of images show virga. Arguably, this is linked to the previous phenomena, as these little cells that collapse and evaporate are trying to be big clouds. Bless their hearts! Basically, it is “an observable shaft of precipitation that evaporates before it hits the ground”.

A cloud cell collapsing and turning to virga....

A cloud cell collapsing and turning to virga….

In connection to my previous comment about the small clouds trying to eat their greens and become big boy clouds, I am right as the science bit says “Virga also has a role in seeding storms whereby small particles from one cloud are blown into neighbouring supersaturated air and act as nucleation particles for the next thunderhead cloud to begin forming”…so I wasn’t making it up. However, sadly on this occasion, none of that happened 😦

Smaller virga above my head

Smaller virga above my head

This is where my science head runs out. A rainbow in the middle of a cloud?! Crazy stuff! I think in all honesty it is more virga but the sun was very low and at just the right angle to catch the light through the water droplets here. It was very short-lived but pretty.

The newly named "cloudus-withus-a-rainbow-in it...us"

The newly named “cloudus-withus-a-rainbow-in it…us”

Once all this had cleared came the edge of a front or “whales mouth”. Don’t ask me why it’s called that but again, the colours were pretty striking so a boring cloud was made a little less boring with a little red on it. However, whilst this was happening, behind me the sky was completely different!

The "whales mouth" of a front coming towards where I was standing with the setting sun turning it a nice colour

The “whale’s mouth” of a front coming towards where I was standing with the setting sun turning it a nice colour

Confused? I was, as this sky and the two or three clouds that made it up were worlds apart from the type I had just been looking at. Remember, as per the usual posts I make on here, this is all in (roughly) the same place on the same day. How things change!

Thin, high and wispy clouds to the west very different to what was approaching the other way

Thin, high and wispy clouds to the west very different to what was approaching the other way

I’m sorry for all the cloud pictures. I should really branch out into other areas, but I looove weather. Alas there are a few more files of this ilk (sky phenomena) to come but then I am going to educate all of you on Belgium as I will be entering the folder containing last years holiday snaps. Don’t sneer, Belgium may be deemed boring and they do put mayonnaise  on their chips (which is just weird) but the place is oozing culture and history, you’ll see!

Thanks for dropping in and I appreciate the comments sent to me of late. Please keep them coming. All the best until next time.

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From “Mares Tail” to Storm

Hello all,

Hope we are well. Autumn has well and truly appeared here in Wales with a bit more rain (we have actually not had all that much over the Summer, so much so that many of the small creeks and rivers have been dry for weeks) and colder mornings and evenings. I have reverted to a winter wardrobe…..

To the pictures! It was only when I picked the pictures I was going to use in this post that I realised, looking at the dates and time attributed by my good old Nikon, that they actually followed the natural progression of a weather event. What are the odds? I was only picking them as they were striking.

The images were all taken within a window of around 3-4 hours on 11.05.2013 and hopefully will show you that, although we are no exciting weather chasing destination here in Wales, there is a lot of variety. Cirrus “Mares Tails” (not the plant) are, in folklore, often said to be the precursor to a storm so I shall leave you to form your own opinion here.

Firstly, when I was out in the garden, I noted an unusual cirrus formation. Usually, the cirrus we see over us is patchy, spread out. However, this was almost like a lace blanket being pulled over the top of us made up of masses of “Mares Tails”…

Cirrus "Mares Tails" heading towards the Preseli Hills over the house

Cirrus “Mares Tails” heading towards the Preseli Hills over the house

That was that for a little while but then we got a few showers and squalls pass over the top of us and off towards the hills. For some reason when we get these showers appear, they always appear over the line of the major road in the distance and follow it. Poor drivers!

A shower in the distance drenching the main road out of Haverfordwest

A shower in the distance drenching the main road out of Haverfordwest

Things calmed down but then it was time for my regular wander at sunset, the premise being you never know quite what’s lurking behind the houses to the west during interesting weather. The answer to that query was this little monster in the distance (probably over Haverfordwest)….

A storm (through a hedge) in the distance moving towards Haverfordwest

A storm (through a hedge) in the distance moving towards Haverfordwest

I moved further down the road (well, the farm track) to get a better view without the undergrowth and pole. To be honest, I had been caught out by this as I wasn’t in my usual spot. So, please excuse the buildings and jazz….

A slightly wider angle of the storm...looks a little like a dragon maybe? That might just be me

A slightly wider angle of the storm…looks a little like a dragon maybe? That might just be me

A little further on. To be honest, this cell was quite a slow developer. The light was fading, well, it was being blocked by this massive amount of cloud so I was unable to take many more images but in the last couple you can see rain in the lower right so someone was getting a good soaking and it wasn’t me for once!

A little clearer bu the light was fading quite rapidly due to the cloud blocking the sun at this stage. Nice light shining on the lower "deck" though

A little clearer but the light was fading quite rapidly due to the cloud blocking the sun at this stage. Nice light shining on the lower “deck” though

Later on though, the sun was revealed for a short time and the remnant of showers and such were still around so I did manage to get a nice rainbow with some virga facing east (away from the storm that had now broken up and moved away)….

A rainbow with some nice pinky shadowy virga to finish the day

A rainbow with some nice pinky shadowy virga to finish the day

Well there you have it, a few hours of May weather in half-a-dozen pictures, I hope you enjoyed it. Now all we need is a few tornadoes and supercells and I’d be happy! For the next few months I suspect it will be quite quiet but remember, I have plenty to pass on from the Summer to you in the meantime.

Oh yes, for those who were interested, it looks as though my pictures weren’t good enough to make the grade for the WeatherNet competition this year. Bah. Well, I can’t invent the weather, so if the pictures (all 25 or so) weren’t good enough, then blame Mother Nature.

Thanks for dropping in again, catch you soon.

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