Cumulonimbus approaching the troposphere (fuzzy top).
Within a 5 minute period, these cumulus cloud clusters transitioned to towering cumulus (cumulus congestus) and then grew into a large cumulonimbus cloud mass that produced lightning and rain. They formed so quickly that they dissipated within another 10 minutes.
Some mammatus clouds associated with a cumulonimbus cloud (thunderstorm). As seen in south central Florida during a moderate thunderstorm. No reports of tornadic activity and lightning strikes were only occasional. Since this was observed in late March, the freezing level was probably around 12,000 feet or so. Lightning normally occurs whenever the top of a cumulonimbus cloud reaches at least 10,000 feet above the freezing level. So the top of this cell was around 22,000 to 25,000 feet – not likely a severe weather event producer as it was nearly stationary and not associated with a front. Contrast that with the atmosphere during the summer – a thunderstorm cell in this area would reach 50,000 feet or more and be more likely to produce severe weather.
We enjoy our all too short Winter… the sky is bright blue and often cloudless. The humidity is bearable for once. Spring – one of the nicest seasons – departs quickly as the Summer sun returns north of the equator. The unrelenting heat drives us to seek water and shade. Boats and beaches – sea breezes and cool drinks – air conditioning and thoughts of the mountains. But Summer is our favorite season – it has to be – it seems to never give up or go away.
It’s also a favorite time to enjoy photography. The colors are amazing and if you’re lucky, the day will end with a cooling thunderstorm – light show included!
Sunrise and showers as viewed from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Midway (CV-41) while conducting flight ops in the East China Sea in late 1979. Sometimes, the loneliness of life at sea can be rewarded – however briefly. Standing there in the predawn hours waiting for the tropical night to end – a dissipating rain shower on the horizon adds a bit of drama to the sunrise and the photographers night is done.
The sun touches the clouds and the tropical shower has all but dissipated. A distant ship (part of our Task Group) can be seen on the horizon’s center.
Flight Deck personnel clean their aircraft for the days activities. US Navy Sea King helicopter (on the right) from HC-1 and a F-4J Phantom jet awaits its next sortie.
The cumulonimbus cloud drops its precipitation into the warm sea.
Camera: Canon F-1 (1978 version) with Canon FD 24mm f2.8 lens on Kodak Kodachrome.