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Lenticular Clouds

Stacked pancaked clouds like this, called Lenticular Clouds, are often the harbinger of heavy rain
Stacked pancaked clouds like this, called Lenticular Clouds, are often the harbinger of heavy rain

Every time I go hiking in the close vicinity of Mt Washington, I’m on the look out for lenticular clouds like these near Mt Isolation, near Mt Washington, This set looks like stacked pancakes. They are shown here hovering on the northern side of Mt Resolution (right) and Mt Stairs (left) as seen from the summit of Mt Crawford. All three of these peaks are due south of the Mt Washington summit, which would place the clouds slightly north over Pinkham Notch Lodge.

Lenticular Clouds over Mt Washington
Lenticular Clouds over Mt Washington

Here’s another set of lenticular clouds that I saw from the Lion Head Trail on the western shoulder of Mt. Washington, again over Pinkham Notch.

These have the characteristic wave pattern that frequently appears with these clouds, when stable moist air flows over a mountain and forms a standing wave on the downwind side. This same wave pattern occurs in a river when water flows over a rock and forms a standing wave that kayakers can surf on.

If the temperature at the crest of one of the air waves reaches dew point, lenticular clouds can form. These often produce precipitation, and the two I’ve experienced so far have both rained on me, rather violently.

If you want to check out more unusual cloud formations check out:

2 comments

  1. do Lanticular clouds produce rain?

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