Monday, August 23, 2010
I've seen photos taken by others of anvil clouds, but could not remember ever seeing one for myself. Well, today was the day. While driving home from some necessary errands, I saw this anvil in the northeastern sky. I pulled into a parking lot and tried to get the best shot of it with no palm trees intruding in the shot. I was curious about what phenomena causes an anvil cloud to form and good ol' Google led me to this explanation:
Anvil clouds, which are mostly ice, form in the upper parts of thunderstorms. They get their anvil shape from the fact that the rising air in thunderstorms expands and spreads out as the air bumps up against the bottom of the stratosphere. You will often see streaks of snow falling out of the edges of anvils. This light snow usually evaporates as it falls through the relatively dry air surrounding the upper part of the thunderstorm.