These types of clouds are a mountain specialty, if you will.
Amanda took this incredible shot from near Milwaukie, Oregon as several of these Lenticular clouds piled on top of each other right over Mt. Hood during the long Thanksgiving Weekend in 2011.
Crazy Looking Clouds Over Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams, Crazy Nicknames
- Some call Lenticulars, “Cap Clouds”
- Some call Lenticulars, “Pancake Clouds”
- Some call Lenticulars, “UFO Clouds”
All of these nicknames make perfect sense, don’t you think? Jeff Gianola likes UFO Clouds as the best nickname. He said he was looking for the ‘little green men’ up there when he was on Mt. Hood over the weekend…but he didn’t find any. Apparently those little guys are really sneaky!
What Causes These Lenticular Clouds To Form Over & Near Mountains
“Surf’s up, dude!” Sounds like something you’d hear along the coast, right? But in this case, surf IS up in the sky.
And it’s the high point or ‘crest’ of these waves where Lenticulars usually form. But different from water — these ‘crests’ tend to stay in or near the same position for awhile, making it seem like these clouds are hovering. And when that wave’s crest starts to shift, Lenticulars will form in a different spot, too.
Air currents are always flowing over mountains, this is true. But when increasing moisture in the sky comes together with just right temperatures and winds–you’ll see an outbreak of these things!
Wayne captured the Lenticulars over Mt. Hood from Bull Mountain this weekend. And he pointed out some faint ones in the upper left of his picture. That could’ve been another wave ‘cresting’. Super cool!
Darlisa is a pro at spotting Lenticulars – she’s seen and shared some incredible photos with me over the last couple of years. She caught a Lenticular down wind from Mt. Adams on Monday November 28, 2011. Clearly, that’s where the wave in the air was cresting! She sees these so often that she uses a more casual name for the clouds: “lennies.”
Guess we should add that to the list of nicknames!