Towering cumulus cloud puts on a dramatic show across the North Sound

Photo: Jay Cline

A lonely towering cumulonimbus cloud that was apparently parked over Canada put on quite a show here in the United States (no Seattle Mariners analogies, please)

The cloud was blooming over Vancouver Island, but was spotted as far away as Kitsap County.

The air mass was just a bit unstable from Monday morning's front passage -- not really unstable enough for widespread rain, but enough to make for some dramatic cloud formations.

Here is time lapse video of that one particular Canadian cloud blooming, courtesy of Greg Johnson at

Note how quickly the cloud begins to dissipate once the winds blow it away from its source of lift -- namely the mountains of Vancouver Island and southwestern B.C.

He had another view to the north that showed the general instability of the day:

The flat top is called an anvil -- caused then the rising air hits a temperature inversion where the air temporarily warms with height, causing a "lid" on convection. (Most commonly, it's when the clouds reach the boundary with the troposphere, where temperatures warm with height.) The clouds then spreads out as if being pushed against an invisible wall, blown in the direction of the prevailing wind.

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