The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
-Psalm 19:1

Do you know that God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?
-Job 37:15

Friday, May 30, 2008

Swelling cumulus, a sign of things to come...

Sky Watch Friday post time!!! (Please visit Tom's blog to participate.) Today, with severe weather season still firing out west with a vengeance, I have decided to post one of my favorite shots of swelling cumulus clouds. Swelling cumulus are one of the early indicators of an environment that is ripe for some action. The rising, turbulent CU towers demonstrate the presence of forcing (lift), which is a key ingredient for thunderstorms. If you start seeing these towers going up, you very well could have some thunderstorm action. Don't miss the crepuscular rays in this shot... which just make it more pretty.

Swelling Cumulus. Widely separated and actively growing heap clouds with flattish bottoms and rounded tops. If conditions persist the cloud will continue to grow into cumulus congestus
Basically, in this environment, you have a relatively high dewpoint with regard to the temperature. Here you have some forcing or cooling of the airmass. Where air parcels continue to rise and form thunderstorms. This is what it looks like... The necessary elements for a thunderstorm are moisture, instability and lift. Don't say I never taught you thermodynamics... :O)

Well, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, a tornado outbreak was underway as I closed out for the day. Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas were getting hammered... and apparently got hammered through the night, and into this morning, and guess what they're having for dinner... more of the same... severe weather. What a year! Every time, they bring up the statistics, I am shocked and amazed by them. This has been a historic year.A total of 55 tornado reports came in yesterday!!! Several of the reported tornado contained multiple vortices and were described as large, one described as a 1/4 mile wide tornado... destruction was reported in many cities, with some of the main ones I heard about being Jewell, KS and Kearney, NE... There were a total of 222(!) severe weather reports yesterday! Report about the EF-2 Kearney tornado is linked here. Here are some storm damage photos from Hamilton County, NE, and here is a graphic showing the areas of activity yesterday... it links to the preliminary storm report... That Weather Service office (Hastings, NE) has their work cut out for them.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned, the plains aren't out of the woods... the Storm Prediction Center has issued... yet another Public Severe Weather Outlook, for the moderate risk for severe weather expected today. As I type, there is a tornado watch in southeastern Iowa, northeastern Missouri and for much of northern Illinois, with this time, a less imminent threat of tornadoes, but there is a decent chance at a few.

Slight risks for tomorrow and Sunday, with the interesting (for me) thing happening Sunday. Bf and I have plans to head to Alabama for some repelling... seriously. Well, it just so happens that the mountain we plan to repel is in the middle of a hatched slight risk for severe weather on Sunday. I might be chasing from the top of a mountain. I don't know how much wifi access I will have while camping out during a slight risk on top of a mountain, so hopefully people will contact me to let me know if we need to take cover...
This could be my big shot at hail. Either way, you can expect pics.

Happy Friday!!!


  1. Wow! This is a great pic of cumulus:)
    well done!
    Petunia's SWF

  2. Gosh, your photos of these thunderheads are amazing! You are so lucky that you can get out there and snap photos like this! But we are even luckier to see the photos you go out and get!! Well done!
    And hey, when are ya gonna teach us something about thermodynamics...? =)
    Rocky Mountain Retreat

  3. Well, now we are in for it too. At least we are supposed to have really bad storms this afternoon late and tonight. I hope the tornadoes go by us.

    Sounds like you missed them too.

  4. This is a great pic of cumulus!

  5. Great shot of the clouds! I really enjoy reading your very informative posts. My thoughts and prayers go out to those folks who are in the path of the current severe weather outbreaks.

    Dew take care in your mountain adventures. :)

  6. I have heard of people stealing wifi there, so you *may* be in luck. There are some really nice views on that mountain....

  7. That is a gorgeous cloud shot! Beautiful sky.

  8. Happy Skywatch Dew!!!!you know I
    Love them cumulus!!!!
    I did get your I am honored you thought of me:0)Have a great trip and I look forward to seeing your pics.!!!!

  9. Dew...this is the most gorgeous photo I've ever seen of clouds! Outstanding! Your blog is so interesting and I'm jealous of your weekend plans :)

    Sounds exciting! Stay cool, have fun and be safe! :)

  10. I love your shot! :)
    We have had dry weather for several weeks. I`m longing for rain......
    A little bit... ;)
    Have a happy weekend!

  11. wow! Fantastic shot for SWF! reminds me the quote... a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky. .. LOL! mine's up too hope you can drop by.

  12. Those are mighty fine clouds with rays of light and looks like some rain falling in the distance. Thanks for the great weather lesson too!!
    thanks for stopping by my skywatch...

  13. Petunia, thanks... I was walking out of Wally World of all the craziness.

    Michele, Thanks. I ALWAYS have my camera. I just happened to be shopping this day... Glad you enjoy my pics. lol... stick around.

    Abraham, Good luck with your weather today and tonight. Where are you located? Keep your weather radio on!!! They always miss me, Abraham.

    Quint, THANKS!!!

    Pat, I bet you see lots of those in your neck of the woods. Glad you find my posts informative. My thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted. I will have a great time!

    Mike, I can't wait to hopefully meet you on Monday!!! Woohoo. Yes, there is wifi, but it's hard to post pics on bf's mac.

    Sandy, Thanks. It took my breath away.

    Jess, You're very welcome! I have to keep the Meso Mommas taken care of... I hope I get some great shots.

    Debbie, Wow... most gorgeous ever?! That is a huge compliment. I am glad to have been there to shoot it for you. I am glad you like my blog. You should do something exciting this weekend. Life is what you make of it. We will be safe.

    Ida, thanks. Praying for rain for you.

    Anne, Thanks!!!

    Snap Catch, Beautiful quote. Thanks for sharing that.

    Have a great weekend, y'all!

  14. Wow! you describe just what I was looking at in my Skywatch - a cumulus tower... you even asked if there was a storm brewing and I didn't even know! :D

  15. Teach, See, I told you our pics were similar. Cool, huh? :O)

  16. sun above rain below. great picture

  17. Thanks, Tommy. Mini-Dew was SO embarrassed.

  18. wow that is one impressive cloud! Nice shot, love it! :)

  19. Thank you for the truly wonderful comment on my Sun Spot photo series. Much appreciated.

    I've been following the US weather pattern very closely - isn't it amazing how many twisters you;ve had this season?

    This is a great picture you;ve posted here - VERY similar to a shot I posted, taken in my back yard about 12-15 months ago.

    You would simply love our Australian skies.....

  20. That is an awesome cumulus shot. Simply goreous. I loved all your information about tornadoes, too. When I taught first grade, the kids loved seeing the book called, Wild Weather.

  21. Interesting post, very beautiful picture, well done.

  22. Thanks for photo, info and song.

  23. Very unusual yet beautiful cloud. You know you weather well.

  24. Wow, that is really a great shot. Those clouds and rays are awesome!

  25. Awesome pic!

    Thanks for the education. I learned whether we watch weather we must all weather the storm.

    Or is it whether the storm "drops" its weather on us.

  26. Wow great shot...I once again learned something from you
    Thanks for the weather lesson.

  27. Great shot and wonderful clouds formation!
    Thanks for visit mine!

  28. Another 'Dew - rific posts..... I'm so late this week getting round. I'll call back soon though ;o)

  29. Hey that cloud shot looks like Jesus could be stepping out of it. Awesome!

  30. Crepuscular?! I have heard that word before, but not for a long time. It means twilight-esque, isn't it?

    Impressive photo!

  31. Agree with old wom tigley... this is another 'Dew - rific post! :D I love that cloud shot! Hope you all had a great weekend... :)

  32. A good wetaher lesson and your cloud pic was really good! Pretty and heavenly.

  33. Thanks, Urban Buddha. It was quite impressive. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see it.

    David, You're very welcome. IT IS ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE HOW MANY TORNADOES WE HAVE HAD THIS YEAR. I am blown away by the stats. Glad you like the shot. I would love to have the opportunity to see those Australia skies!!!

    Musings, Thanks! Glad you enjoy the blog posts. I think I read that book...

    Daniel, Thank you so much!

    Luiz, Gladly. Any time.

    Andrea, Thanks. I soak weather knowledge in like a sponge... can't seem to get enough.

    Sherry, thanks be to God.

    Gusto! I am so glad you enjoyed learning about stuff I am so passionate about... truly, we MUST ALL weather the storm. It dew drop sometimes... lol

    Patty, So glad. You are VERY welcome!!

    John, Thanks!!!

    Tom, Glad you got by, nonetheless.

    Annie, Truly awesome... majesty of His power exemplified.

    Craver, crepuscular rays are the bands of light that filter through clouds and air becoming visible as they reflect the "dirty air"... they are also referred to as the Sun's rays, among other things... THANKS!

    Ice, Thanks! Awesome weekend, but I guess you already know that now... :O)

    Chrome, Heavenly. I like that. THANKS Bunches.


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