“These were taken By Muscoutah, IL...” *by Tara*
I googled to find where this town is:
They are located in southwestern Illinois, just a 30 minute drive down I-64 from St. Louis, MO.
I thought these clouds would get your attention. The one good thing about being in a chilly pattern is that our air mass has been very stable. The clouds above are an example of a volatile air mass we normally see here in the Midwest ahead of or behind strong thunderstorms. These are a form of cumulonimbus undulatus or mammatus clouds that tell meteorologists there are strong updrafts and downdrafts occurring in the atmosphere. This air flow then forms a wave pattern and it is many times crafted by the topography of the land. So these strange clouds are actually hybrids or cousins of lenticular clouds we spoke about here on the blog yesterday and some meteorologists call them lenticular mammatus clouds. Lenticular clouds are shaped by air that is lifted by the land or usually mountains. But in rare cases if your downdrafts are severe enough the air can be lifted once again as it reaches the surface of the earth. It is nature's version of bouncing a basketball or in this case an entire column of air. This bouncing effect produces these dramatic results. Not even the Harlem Globe Trotters can do something like this! Many times I have seen these clouds captured by storm chasers in and around severe weather, including ahead of dramatic tornadoes that have occurred here in Tippecanoe County. They do not always mean severe weather is on the way, but can be a good indicator of trouble ahead. A special thanks to Mary Anne for forwarding these to me.
Speaking of basketball, nature is going to be bouncing us around as we head into the weekend with huge temperature swings. We will go from turning up the heat to getting out the bathing suits. We could have some interesting clouds as the harbingers of a warm pattern. I cannot rule out a few mammatus clouds, but we will likely have some cumulonimbus clouds develop here in Lafayette by later Thursday night. It will all be part of a mesoscale convective system. This is an organized area of not one, but several thunderstorms that can form into many shapes and sizes, including squall line. Now I do not think we will have much moisture to work with which will limit our severe weather close to home. This is the good news. Even better, these complexes form on the periphery of a warm dome of air. This is a good sign of the much hyped warm-up on the way!
We finally see the light at the end of our chilly tunnel! The warm dome of air will overtake Lafayette by Sunday or Race Day and we will go from wind chills in the 30s on Wednesday morning to temperatures in the 80s. That is vintage May weather here in Indiana.
Tonight things will also be heating up for those interesting in doing something about our crazy Indiana wather. Make sure to head out to the Logansport-Cass County Public Library.
Interested in volunteering as a precipitation observer? Become a member of CoCoRHS - the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, & Snow Network.
Follow the link http://www.cocorahs.org/State.aspx?state=IN
Our weather team is also looking for more weather watchers, especially outside of Tippecanoe, White, and Clinton Counties.
Please e-mail me at http://firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for all your help and I will have more on this tonight and hopefully see you out at the Farmer's Market in West Lafayette late this afternoon and evening. Yes it it true the Wabash Runner's Club is putting on a 5k at 5:30 p.m. Will my boss give me permission to run it between shows. Tune in to find out.