Sunday, August 5, 2012

Uinta Weather

As anticipated, yesterday was a gorgeous day in the Uinta mountains with only a few shallow cumulus clouds evident along the Uinta crest as one looked east from the summit of Mount Watson.

As is often the case, the High Uintas served yesterday as the locus for cumulus cloud initiation.  The broad, gradual slopes of the Uinta Mountain "massif" is ideal for the generation of upslope flows during the day.  These upslope flows converge and cause rising motion near the Uinta crest, which contributes to the initiation of cumulus clouds, as shown schematically on yesterday's MODIS image below.
This is one reason why the Uintas are such a hotbed for thunderstorm activity in the summer, with the lightning danger further enhanced by the highly exposed nature of the topography.  There aren't many safe places to hide in the Uintas and lightning fatalities have occurred even in the "lower elevations" such as at campgrounds along the Mirror Lake Highway.

Of course, cumulus clouds and thunderstorms do occur off the Uinta crest.  Yesterday simply provided a very clean example in which slope flows dominate the processes leading to cloud initiation.

No comments:

Post a Comment