Biking DT yesterday evening, everyone was snapping photos of something behind me. Looked around and saw the most amazing cloud ever. A cross between Flash Gordon clouds and an Atomic Bomb mushroom cloud, this thing was towering over the city, reflecting the pinks and oranges from the sunset.
Photo by Halivah Maya from the The Cloud that came over San Marcos, Texas and carried Zeus Facebook Fanpage
Once downtown, it’s all anyone could talk about. Did Edward Sharpe and Mumford and Sons bring it in on the Railroad Revival? Was Zeus coming to strike Rick Perry down? Were we finally going to get rain?
“Nuclear Explosion Over Austin” by Thomas Guy (@thomasguy on instagram)
When I got home later, my Facebook and Instagram feeds were flooded with pictures of the cloud.
“The 8 o’clock cloud” by Kevin Muñoz
“Beautiful clouds from the balcony of Congress Austin” by Jennie Chen (@misohungry on Twitter/Instagram)
That looks like a muted anvil top of the t-storm. You can see the overshooting updraft in the middle of the storm that has punched through the stable layer above and hence the anvil. Remember the anvil forms because the rising air in the storm hits a layer of stable air like the tropopause or any stable warm layer and the moisture has to fan out horizontally. What we are seeing here is evidence of a weaker updraft because the storm is either falling apart, weak or regenerating. I think that’s why the anvil is not well developed and even the main updraft core, though I’ve seen other pictures that it looks more impressive. The air around the storm is stable and given the stability of the atmosphere yesterday around Austin it seems this would be a likely explanation. Either way it was an impressive site to see this lone t-storm moving through the sky at sunset!
Still a little reflective from yesterday’s post. Will have a normal post tomorrow
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