We’ve had some windy days lately. Two days ago (October 20, 2019) we had gusts up to 40 mph (miles per hour) — it was hard to walk in that wind!
As we battled the blustery weather while walking the dogs, I happened to look to the west, where I saw lens-shaped clouds hovering over the tops of the mountains.
Once inside, I decided to clean up some photos on the computer. I happened across this shot of Longs Peak from near Estes Park from fifteen years ago.
What caught my eye initially was the odd shaped cloud over the east face of the mountain top — just like what I’d seen while walking the dogs. This is called a ‘lenticular cloud’, meaning lens-shaped. Lenticular clouds indicate that the wind is really ripping, pulling relatively moister air up to the top of the mountain, where it forms a cloud as it crosses over. Although these clouds seem to stand still, in reality, they are constantly forming on the near side, then evaporating on the far.
According to the Rocky Mountain National Park Service Wind page, in the winter, the average daily wind speeds on Longs Peak are 65 mph, so the average is higher than our peak wind speed on Sunday. It often blows at over 100 mph, and the maximum wind speed recorded was in excess of 200 mph!
Suddenly, I’m more appreciative of our relatively calm air.