Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hells Canyon Jet Boating

This may be as close as I get to jet boating this summer.  Check out this video from the front seat of a jet boat negotiating rapids along the Snake River in Hells Canyon.  See all the sites including big horn sheep, elk and sturgeon. Makes me home sick.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

What's that flying saucer cloud over Mt. Rainier?

By    Published:   Nov 6, 2013

Photo of lenticular clouds over Mt. Rainier on Dec. 5, 2008. (Photo courtesy: Tim Thompson)

The infamous "cap cloud" that sometimes forms over Mt. Rainier has been the source of legends and folklore for ages around here. Some say it looks like an alien spaceship is descending on the mountain's summit.

But there's nothing mystical about how it's formed.

The cloud, known as a "lenticular cloud" is formed when you have three ingredients: Warm, moist air that is just on the cusp of saturation, laminar flow (when you have winds constant with height -- as in little to no turbulence or shear) and something big to get in the way, like, say, the region's tallest mountain.

When the air flows over the mountain, it will create waves downstream where the air is now going up and down, and up, and down -- like ripples on a pond or waves on the ocean. When the air goes up, it cools a little bit and when conditions are on the cusp of saturation, that slight cooling is enough to create a cloud. When the air sinks back down again, an opposite drying effect occurs and the cloud disappears.

While to us it might look like the clouds are floating in place, in fact, the air is streaming through the cloud as it hovers there -- the cloud is just showcasing the right spot in the atmosphere where the air is undergoing its lift and sink. Sometimes this occurs right over the summit, giving the mountain a hat. Other times, it's just downstream.

To get the "stack of pancakes" look, you have this effect happening at multiple layers. Watch closely in the video and you can see times where layers disappear and then magically reappear.
Mt. Rainier

Here is another amazing video showing their formation:
Mt. Rainier time lapse video of lenticular cloud formation
To locals, the clouds are a sign that rain is on the way -- usually within 24 hours. That's because that needed moist air with laminar flow usually occurs in the hours preceding a weather system. Think of it as Rainier unfurling its umbrella! :)

This Video from Oregon's Mt. Hood shows the air streaming up , over and down the mountain.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Watch: Time lapse video of gorgeous Mt. Rainier lenticular cloud

By  Published:   May 26, 2015

They're sometimes mistaken for aliens, but really, it's just a sign rain might be on the way.

Luke Meyers just recently published this time lapse video of a rather strange-looking lenticular cloud over Mt. Rainier last March. It's a good illustration of how they form -- the clouds look stationary but there's quite a bit of movement in them as air rises just enough to saturate, then dries enough as it sinks to "go invisible" again.

Here is another recent photo, taken by YouNews contributor "troxa41622511086":
Find out more about lenticular clouds here

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mount St. Helens - Pictures During and after

      Mount St. Helens Eruption - May 18, 1980 8;32 am                                      

Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980 in Skamania County, Wash. It was the deadliest eruption in U.S. history, killing 57 people. (left) Jim Valance, Cascades Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey (right)

Mount Saint Helens erupts. USGS via Earth Science World Image Bank (above)

Mount St. Helens sends a plume of ash, smoke and debris skyward. The eruption blasted more than 1,300 feet off the mountain's peak. Jack Smith, AP
The Initial Blast  (right) The mushroom cloud of volcanic ash produced by the eruption, as seen from Toledo, Washington, 35 miles away. The cloud was roughly 40 miles wide and 15 miles high.

Ash cloud as seen from space (below)
from Weather Satellite GOES-3 at 1545 UTC

map of eruption depostits

Sequence of events on May 18


NASA Satellite Image Mount St. Helens 35 Years After Its Historic Eruption

This satellite image of Mount St. Helens comes courtesy of NASA’s Earth Observatory

Today is the 35th anniversary of the volcano’s eruption and subsequent landslide, which killed 57 people. Scientists still keep a close watch on the site from both the air and ground.
As NASA notes:
The volcano has been quiet since 2008, which marked the end of a four-year period of activity.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Snohomish storm chaser gets 1-in-a-million shot of tornado, rainbow

By Published: May 11, 2015

Not sure I've ever seen a photograph that captures the beauty and power of weather in one singular shot.

Snohomish's Benjamin Jurkovich, part of the JWSevere Weather Chasing Team has been out storm chasing in the Midwest for the past few weeks and he's had his share of twisters, super cells, and other images that define Tornado Alley in the spring.

But this one he got near Wiley, Colorado Saturday afternoon might be the most unique in his portfolio -- a tornado at the same time as a rainbow.

"It was pretty darn awesome!" he said.

Jurkovich said most of his storm chases have been in the dusty Midwest as it hadn't rained much, but the night before this photograph, that portion of Colorado had heavy rains, helping to clear the air for this spectacular shot.

He's been lucky so far in not having too many close calls - the one exception was while chasing a storm near Hayes, Kansas, another area of rotation began to develop to their southwest moving northeast:

read the rest of the story at

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Salmon fishing open one last weekend on Lower Clearwater

By Published: May 13, 2015

CLARKSTON, WA - Idaho Department of Fish and Game is closing salmon fishing on the Lower Clearwater River this Sunday, from the Camas Prairie Railroad Bridge to Cherry Lane Bridge. Fishing ends at 8:30 that night.

Salmon fishing in the Clarkston area is now closed.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife made the decision a little earlier than usual this season.

"Little Goose Fishery, Lower Granite Fishery and Clarkston Fishery remained open this last weekend," said WDFW Fish Biologist, Jeremy Trump. "We saw some really high catch rates and effort at Little Goose and Clarkston. We have reached our harvest target for this season, for the Snake River."

Trump said a total of 1,749 fish have been harvested this season.

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