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Watch: Time lapse video shows amazing "hat" cloud float over Mt. Rainier at sunrise

Luke Meyers

SEATTLE -- It was quite the amazing sunrise over Mt. Rainier this weekend. We've already showcased some of the photos, but now we have video of the event!

Luke Meyers had his camera rolling as the spectacular lenticular cloud display took hold, painted in golden colors of the sunrise. This video is sped up 30 times, Meyers said:

Lenticular clouds are usually a sign of approaching rain in the Puget Sound area. The clouds are caused when you have three ingredients: Warm, moist air that is just on the cusp of saturation, laminar flow (when you have winds constant with height -- as in little to no turbulence or shear) and something big to get in the way, like, say, the region's tallest mountain.

When the air flows over the mountain, it will create waves downstream where the air is now going up and down, and up, and down -- like ripples on a pond or waves on the ocean.

When the air goes up, it cools a little bit and when conditions are on the cusp of saturation, that slight cooling is enough to create a cloud. When the air sinks back down again, an opposite drying effect occurs and the cloud disappears.

While to us it might look like the clouds are floating in place, in fact, the air is streaming through the cloud as it hovers there -- the cloud is just showcasing the right spot in the atmosphere where the air is undergoing its lift and sink. Sometimes this occurs right over the summit, giving the mountain a hat.

These conditions are usually present in the hours before rain arrives and thus is a somewhat reliable predictor of rain -- even more so than your uncle's trick knee!

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