Clouds creating a magical spectacle in the high-altitude skies over Mount Rainier
By Kerry Mcqueeney
Mar 25, 2012 - 7:31:15 AM
In a twist: The bizarre 'corkscrew' clouds creating a magical spectacle in the high-altitude skies over Mount Rainier
- Lenticular clouds captured by amateur photographer over the Washington State national park
Suspended in the atmosphere and bewitchingly bizarre, these are the incredible cloud formations that have been leaving gazers in a twist.
These fantastical formations of lenticular clouds - or Altocumulus lenticularis - look as though giant corkscrews have descended from the sky.
The strange - yet stunning - cloud patterns were caught on camera over Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, U.S.
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Cloud cover: These spectacular 'corkscrew' shapes in the sky are known as lenticular formations, which typically occur at high altitudes
The strange beauty of the lenticular cloud formation is all the more evident against the backdrop of the starry night sky at Mount Rainier
Fascinated: Amateur photographer Tyler Mode said he loves nothing better than taking his camera out on mountain hikes in the hope of capturing of the clouds
Amateur photographer and grocery assistant manager Tyler Mode - who snapped these incredible images - has become fascinated with the cloud formations, which are very common in the region.
He said he loves nothing better than taking his photography equipment out on mountain hikes in the hope of capturing the clouds on camera.
He said: 'The clouds are caused by high winds and upper level moisture coming over the mountain.
'They form quite often but are usually masked by other clouds, their name is lenticular because of their lens shape they have.
Bizarre and bewitching: The formations, which have become a common sight in the mountainous region, have enchanted many
Dramatic: Lenticular formations - or Altocumulus lenticularis - are stationary lens-shaped clouds
Explaining the unexplained: On occasion, the clouds have been offered as an explanation for some UFO sightings, due to their unusual shape
'I know they are a sign of an approaching storm system. A number of people stopped to take pictures and claimed it was the start of a tornado but it was not.'
Named so due to their lens-shape, lenticular formations are stationary clouds usually formed by moist air rising in the high-altitude skies over a mountain or range of mountains.
The clouds are usually formed perpendicular to the direction of the airflow, and are usually avoided by aircraft pilots because of the turbulence associated with them.
On occasion, they have been offered as an explanation for some UFO sightings, due to their unusual shape.
WATCH A TIME-LAPSE VIDEO OF MOUNT RAINIER'S LENTICULAR CLOUD FORMATIONS
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