A Picture and a Question

Hey guys. I don't take a lot of pictures, but this weekend I saw something I thought I should capture. You can see it below:


I was wondering just what was going on here. The main reason I took the picture is I thought a tornado might be forming, but the whole scene confused me. Can anyone tell what's going on in it? I couldn't figure out how to describe this to people.


  1. That looks like rain evaporating from a hot surface then almost immediately condensing as it rises. I see similar things frequently in the tropical mountains after rain, where you can see the evaporate condensing in cloudy wisps due to the combination of altitude, temperature and humidity.

  2. Looks similar to videos I've seen of tornado formation. Was there rotation to that conical formation between the treetops and cloud base? That's the key.

  3. I didn't see if there was rotation or anything else. I was on a public lane, so I didn't want to stop for long, and when I got to my house (which was very close), it was raining too hard for me to want to stay outside to look.

    I'm pretty sure no tornado touched down, but that might have been the start of one that got aborted. The rest of the scene troubles me more though. I could see clear sky behind a low cloud bank, rain coming from one only part of the cloud bank then huge amounts of rain coming from where the cloud bank was moving to...? I don't know weather patterns that well, but I can't think of a time I've seen anything like that. Was there a high cloud moving one direction and a low cloud moving another, with the high cloud releasing a lot more rain?

    I don't know. I wish I could have gotten better/more pictures. I'd love to know just what all I was seeing there. It seemed like there were five different things in one scene.

  4. Carrick, thanks. I had never heard of those before, but I think you might be right. It's still a strange sight, but at least some of it makes a bit more sense now.

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