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Was the crazy cloud over Austin a sign of the apocalypse? [PHOTOS]

2011 April 27

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)

Mark Chapin from KEYE had this explanation of the cloud on his Facebook Page:


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!


wild cloud formation over the Dell Diamond by @JustRyan on Twitter


crazy cloud over Alamo by @BunnyGrunt on Instagram


I don’t exactly understand everything Mark says about the cloud. But to me it was something magical. Coming into the office today, people were talking about something other than TV, sports or popular culture. For one day, this cloud was bigger than all of that. It’s like this gentle giant rolled through our city and reminded us that we are all human; there’s something out there bigger than us.

#cloud #austin by @jealex on Instagram

Still a little reflective from yesterday’s post. Will have a normal post tomorrow :)


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3 Responses leave one →
  1. April 27, 2011

    Twas epic.

  2. cortney permalink
    April 27, 2011

    except it never rained…

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