Seemingly out of nowhere, a titanic lenticular event manifested over Mount Shasta on Monday, kicking off March with a bang. The sky was basically cloudless at sunrise but by mid-morning it was already getting interesting. Naturally I could not resist heading out and documenting the spectacle, which I did at various times during the day, trying to catch it in its many iterations painted across the sky.
It was obvious from the beginning that this was the big event I have been waiting months for. From the west side of Mount Shasta the clouds seem to stretch from the mountain itself west to Mount Eddy. At times it was a series of lenticular disks while at other times the individual clouds seemed to merge into a single band of wavy formations. However, it was only when traveling to the north that the full scope of the cloud could be appreciated, as it could be seen extending east beyond the Whaleback. It is difficult to gauge the scale of the cloud from a fixed spot low down on the ground but just the linear distance between Mount Eddy and Whaleback is approximately 22.5 miles. That’s a big lenticular!
Click to enlarge:
The wave never quite lit up the way I had hoped but it was a spectacular end to a staggering day nonetheless. The mountain had good color at times and the alpenglow’s subtle illumination of the clouds was still gorgeous if not grand. The totality of the scene was grand enough and then some. I had hoped that a formation as large and durable as this one would still be manifest in the morning. Some form of lenticular was still visible in the moonlight well after midnight. However, with only the surging winds signaling its departure, the titanic formation dissipated into the night. When I headed out the next morning, hoping to capture a lenticular sunrise, there was not even a remnant of it. Such is the will of the mountain. It is unpredictable!
The massive lenticular having vanished , it was just another morning on Mount Shasta.
This was indeed the lenticular I had been waiting for all season. There have been plenty of formations for months but none ever really elevated themselves into the rarified company of the great events. This one did that. I don’t want to be greedy but I hope we get another before summer gets here!