Cumulonimbus Clouds

These pretty cotton-ball clouds arrived on the horizon while I was enjoying some deck time. Although they look harmless, cumulonimbus clouds can pack a very serious wallop, especially if they get together in a group or start growing vertically. These clouds are doing both, and a bit later we had an enormous thunder storm.

Because cumulonimbus clouds are formed by rising water vapour droplets, powerful upward air currents can develop and possibly lead to unstable and turbulent air that could become seriously problematic for aircraft. In their most severe forms, cumulonimbus clouds can lead to massive thunder storms or tornadoes.

So when your flight is delayed because of summer weather, just remember that although these clouds look like harmless powder puffs, you probably wouldn’t want to fly through one.

Happy Saturday.

16 thoughts on “Cumulonimbus Clouds”

  1. The skies these days have been pretty spectacular Lynette. Some thunder boomers at 2 AM this morning and overnight rain and the cycle will repeat for the next few days as we finally get some heat. Thanks for sharing. Happy Saturday. Allan

    1. It continues to be unseasonably coolish and wet (actually, the temperatures are very comfortable and there’s enough rain to keep things green but not soggy), so unusual for Penticton. I hope you get some nice July weather. Cheers.

    1. So sorry to hear that! July is one of my favourite months (usually for the good weather), but ours has been unusually rainy and certainly about ten degrees (C) cooler than normal. It has kept the fires down and been good for the water table after about four years of drought, so there are advantages!

      1. I don’t mind the storms, as long as we don’t lose power. Our recent high temps seem to bring them on. As soon as we moved into July, we went straight to the high 90s. We usually don’t see 90s until August.

        1. Unfortunately, thunder storms cause power to surge through the grid (lightening is pure electricity and is attracted to any other form of it such as a power grid or water – water carries an electrical charge which is why it is dangerous to be near it during lightening flashes), overpowering it and damaging circuits. There’s still no totally effective way of protecting power grids from lightening.

          We had a very hot summer last year with lots of forest fires. It was really bad, so I’m not minding this cooler summer. 35°C (95F) is quite usual here in July, but after years of droughts and fires, the entire ecosystem needs a break! I hope you’re able to stay cool. Cheers.

          1. As a coastal state, we tend to be more humid than high, dry heat. Thank goodness we aren’t all that prone to forest fires. We get them but, most are isolated and controlled. The last bad forest fire that was close to my state was the Gatlinburg fire a few years ago.

            It is cooler, today…68F at the moment. I’m sitting on my porch, watching the rain.


    1. They are incredibly beautiful. I used to live on the prairies where the geography produces the most spectacular forks of lightening, especially on a flat horizon. Here we have had quite a few of them come down the valley over the lake, but mostly sheet lightening. Cheers.

  2. Those clouds definitely do not look harmless to me. I’m VERY familiar with cumulus clouds. They happened every day in the summer rainy season in Florida. Loud, booming thunderstorms. And where I lived was the lightening capital of the U.S. The rains didn’t last more than an hour or two. Afterward, the sun came out which usually gave us an eye appealing rainbow but also left steam rising from the pavement. 🥵

    1. Yes, you would have a healthy respect for these. I remember some flight training I took years ago in Miami in early June. The weather was interesting, to say the least. Lots of boomer thunder storms and the humidity was brutal. I had to keep tightening my seat belt because of all the turbulence. Ugh.

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