Mammatus UFOs

So, here’s our caffeine test for Wednesday morning. Examine the cloud formation below:


What’s stands out most to you: the 1) mammatus undulatus cloud formation, or 2) the UFO above the left tree line?

If you answered 2) you’ve had way too much coffee this morning. Or way too much LSD last night. Sorry, but you’ll have to be the judge of that one.

So, well, I took this yesterday afternoon, down at the local roadhouse. What caught my eye was the cloud formation, as the “UFO” is simply the reflection of a light fixture in the window I was shooting through. We don’t see many mammatus clouds in the rockies; they tend to form under anvil shaped super-cell thunderstorms (denizens of the great plains, and over my house after I fix my three alarm chili), unless that is, it’s the jet stream slamming into upwelling air forced up by mountains. Rocky Mountain National Park is about 40 miles “thataway” – and I guess those count as mountains, so there you go.

Here’s a close up with some contrast and saturation added, to show more of the rolling contours of this formation, and with our pesky UFO cropped out:


I’m a cloud freak…I admit it, and I love mammatus clouds most of all, but these so-called undulatus clouds are a bit of a rarity, even down on the plains. If you were looking at these clouds from the left, say, you’d see what was for all intents and purposes objects close in aspect to a sine wave, representing a tremendous amount of instability in the atmosphere. Needless to say, we have a major winter storm in the forecast – for this afternoon!


Never one to keep to a schedule, I’m working on a completely new story – which is, I’m afraid, a sequel of sorts to a movie that came out in 1986.

Go figure.

The first draft of this story is about 2/3rds complete, so give or take a few days I might get a first version out this weekend, or early next week latest. At any rate, it’s an idea I’ve had kicking around in the back of my head for years (since the 90s, at least), and I thought it time to get the idea on paper. Well, you know what I mean.

It’s apolitical, too, which I feel certain will come as a relief to you. To me, too, as well.

At any rate, I wish I’d caught a UFO on film (or sensor, as the case may be), but I promise – when I do you’ll see it here first.



4 thoughts on “Mammatus UFOs

  1. I love the rolling clouds. But what are the dots on the right side of the picture? They are in both versions. Above the building with the dark, pitched roof in the 4th roll from the horizon, and above and slightly to the right of the flat white roof. If you keep staring at the dot on the right you can see three in a cluster. kinda like the Michelin Man or Casper looking at us.
    Probably something on your dash


  2. I’d say either dust on the sensor if a DSLR, but was shooting with the iPhone 7+ through a restaurant window, so no telling what it is. We are having the snowpocalypse up here today: 29-34 degrees, 18″ of wet heavy snow, so of course I fell and broke my left leg, just below the knee. Spent the afternoon in the ER… When it rains, it pours, no?


  3. Clicking on the blue Like star is not an appropriate response. Perhaps a new saying is needed? When it snows, it is dangerous. ?
    We had a low of 28, high of 31, 90+ humidity, a perfect recipe for snow. The ski areas are loving it. Overnight low was -2 but it has warmed up to 12 so far. Another night of extreme cold is forecast, NW vineyards will be pruned to the ground next spring if this keeps up.
    Sorry about the leg, I hope it was a clean break and will heal quickly with out complications or pain. A medically enforced period in which to read and/or write?


  4. RB: Been close to -20 past few nights, and we’ve about four feet on the edge of the driveway, where I usually measure. The fracture feels minor, but going to the ortho tomorrow, just wrapped and in a boot for now. I was running the snow blower without much problem, but it’s throbbing more now (thank goodness for Aleve). I’m at a loss about what to work on next, writing-wise, anyway…
    How close to Sun Valley are you? Our ski conditions are prime right now; tempted to just wrap the knee in concrete and head up mountain…


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