Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Interesting cloud phenomena to start the day

Did you see it? If you're not an avid weather watcher, or even if you are, you may have missed it.

Just after sunrise this morning (Tuesday, May 18), a narrow band of stratus clouds set up over eastern Shelby County extending from north to south. From the pictures taken below (minus the surrounding landscape), you might first guess that these were taken along the California coastline, or in San Francisco Bay. Au contraire!

This narrow band of low stratus clouds, with bases at about 1,500 feet, set up over Lakeland south across Cordova and on to Germantown. The line even showed up on early morning visible satellite imagery (see the last image below, showing a narrow north-south line of slightly brighter white over eastern Shelby County). The satellite even indicates that the cloud line may have extended south into eastern DeSoto County, then tailed back southwest towards eastern Tunica County. What caused it is anyones guess. One possibility is that the clouds could have formed along a boundary between two slightly different airmasses with slightly different temperature or moisture characteristics, perhaps leftover from yesterday afternoon's thunderstorms that were scattered about the region. In any case, it was an interesting phenomena to note, take a couple of pictures of, and observe from a satellite 22,500 miles up!

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