Strange Skies

mammatus clouds in MichiganEarlier this week some folks up north saw something in the sky. Actually, it was the atmosphere, and fear monger Chicken Little would have really been hysterically shouting “The sky is falling”. Of course, since the sky wasn’t falling, it wasn’t an alien invasion, nor the end of the world, there had to be a scientific explanation.


It seems that what was seen by the good folks like Joe Nottage (who took this picture) in Michigan & Wisconsin was a rarely seen mammatus, clouds that float with pouches of water, sometimes with ice inside, and can signal severe weather, but they do not (as falsely believed) continue down to form tornadoes. explains “The ice crystals sublimate, or change from ice to water vapor as they fall, causing the surrounding air to thermodynamically cool. The cooled air becomes negatively buoyant and begins to sink, producing the punched-out look indicative of the mammatus cloud.”

We might never see them on the Gulf Coast but if you want to see more check out this gallery of mammatus clouds

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