Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cloud Cap on Rainier

Rainier capped with a cloud

On my last trip across Puget Sound I had a nice view of Mount Rainier rising over 14,000 feet above me on the water. The mountain had a tell tale cap of cloud as air flowed up and over the mountain from an approaching warm front. A good predictor of coming weather sure enough it rained the next day. I enjoyed a rain free day even though it meant working on the weekend.  

In our modern era, we have satellite images, weather buoys, and sophisticated computer models among other things in our arsenal for weather predictions. I was reading about early cattle ranching in central Washington and a bad winter in the 1850s and a medicine dance by the Yakima Indians that apparently brought warm weather and acclaim to the local medicine man. The rancher could not read the clouds, but suspected the medicine man could. Very likely he saw a cloud cap form on Mount Adams and knew warm air was coming soon.

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