Ominous Clouds

We have had some interesting rain clouds and storms as of late. All minor in severity but they make for intriguing weather-watching.

Usually I would be more nervous about seeing mammatus clouds but these were moving away from us towards town and fortunately, they carried no hail that we could see.

We haven’t yet seen the house take hail yet and we are crossing our fingers and toes that our metal roof and stucco siding make it through the ’23 storm season unscathed.


Finally, it rained tonight. It only took several months for our first respectable rain to arrive but it was GLORIOUS.

The dark and slow-moving clouds arrived first and seemed to chug to a stop overhead, bunching up like clogged highway traffic at rush hour. Then, the first few patter-pats of raindrops began to plop onto the windows and our metal roof. This was followed by roughly forty-five minutes of meditative bliss as a heavy blanket of rain and gentle thunder enveloped our ridge.

I opened the front and patio doors, leaving just the screens closed to welcome in every last iota of humidity that could make its way into the house. As evening fell, I turned off all the lights, lit a single candle and sat down to enjoy the moment as I watched the rain drops meander down the windows overlooking our valley.

Kelvin-Helmholtz Clouds

The other week I stood at the kitchen sink when an odd little set of clouds began to stand out against the sky. At first they appeared to resemble a washboard pattern but soon they smoothed out to take the form of ocean waves (almost in the way a child might draw them).

Within seconds they were already changing. My memory was stretching to remember where I had seen this shape before and why it was special. It took me a second but it hit me I had seen this in an article on social media about a similar formation over the Wyoming Big Horns from 2022.

These were not quite that spectacular, but it was the unique shape that was memorable.

I reached out to our local National Weather Service office via Facebook and they were kind enough to confirm back that day that yes, these were Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds among other lenticular formations.

If you really want to nerd out and read about the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability phenomenon, you can start here. But all in all, this was a neat occurrence to get to see and within seconds it was unraveling and in 1-2 minutes was completely gone.

This now makes me wonder what else I may have missed in the vastness of our sky when I am downstairs working during the day or otherwise in our home not looking up.

Morning Fog Waves

Now this was an interesting view I have not seen before here. Looking east over the plains and over the valley we live by, a curious fog pattern was happening. It was so slow-moving it almost appeared still.

It reminded me of ocean waves and made me wonder what air or wind movements were happening out there to cause this formation.

As sun came up, the light helped provide more contrast and shadowing to really see the shapes ebb and flow across the land.

As more time passed, the fog wave shapes began to smooth out and thin.

I like to imagine, as I zoomed in, these are actually mythical fog Nessies slowly and quietly moving through a sea of mist 🙂

A New Weather Station

We decided to up our weather station capabilities here at our place. Our original weather station was doing alright mainly, but we could tell it was not measuring the wind speeds out here accurately. As in regularly being 20-30mph under the true wind speeds.

Based on the orientation of our house, wind speeds can easily pass 60mph on a normal day. It has been bothersome to not be able to tell what the biggest gusts really were registering. (When the house is vibrating from the pressure of the winds, accurate knowledge suddenly becomes very important to one’s peace of mind). So we upgraded and went for this new set-up from Ambient Weather.

So far this new station has performed top-notch with near-instant signaling between the station and our indoor display.

We didn’t realize before how important that fast signal between station and interior display is when measuring high wind. If it is a slow signal to your digital dashboard, you potentially miss measuring and seeing the peak of a gust and likely your station isn’t reporting back the true speeds. This is what we think was happening with our other model and were always seeing speeds of almost 20mph less than what it really was due to the slower latency.

We look forward to keeping up with our weather here now with better detail (and both staying safe with it while having some fun)!

Frozen Mordor

Towering cloud cover over Cheyenne in the distance viewed from our fence line.

Yesterday brought a fast-moving front across our place west of town and I watched it culminate into a towering cloud formation far and wide that slowed down and stalled over the populous of Cheyenne, WY. (Technically we are in Cheyenne also by zip code, but beyond the horizon in the photo is the city area).

The Hubs noted that driving into town for his night shift felt like entering “frozen Mordor” as per his description, the travel transported him into the dark and dreary setting of the dark and foreboding landscape of Mordor in the Lord of the Rings movies. The temperature can drop disturbingly fast out here so it’s not unheard of to see us go down 20-30 degrees in short order and things go pear-shaped quickly.

A few hours later I took a peek outside and found that at least from out here on our little ranch on a ridge, while the cloud bank was still there, it was softened by the pastels and sunset colors of the fading evening. Definitely a changed narrative looking back at the weather from the clear side of things from what it apparently looked like from within it.