Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
The new Washington
Post Weather website
Jump to CWG's
Latest Full Forecast
Outside now? Radar, temps
and more: Weather Wall
Follow us on Twitter (@capitalweather) and become a fan on Facebook
Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 05/27/2010

A cirrus and contrail display

By Kevin Ambrose

* Flash Flood Watch late today/tonight: CWG's Full Forecast *

A beautiful display of cirrus clouds and contrails in the northern sky over Oakton, Va., on Wednesday morning.

Occasionally, we get a weather show not associated with storm clouds, lightning or hail, but with fair weather clouds. On Wednesday morning, cirrus clouds painted the northern sky with ice crystals that formed long, wisp-like patterns that streaked across a brilliant blue background. By Wednesday afternoon, cumulus clouds formed with the cirrus clouds. In addition to the cirrus and cumulus clouds, contrails from high-altitude jets cut across the sky in strands of long, thin clouds that spanned from horizon to horizon.

It was a beautiful display in the sky, but one which is easily missed as we go about our day-to-day activities. Soon enough, I'll be back out photographing storm clouds or lightning, but at least for one day, I enjoyed the beautiful weather and the interesting cloud show above us.

Keep reading for more photos and commentary...

A display of cirrus clouds over Vienna, Va., Wednesday morning.

Cirrus clouds at the intersection of Rt 123 and International Drive in Tysons Corner, Va., Wednesday morning.

Cirrus and alto cirrus clouds over Tysons Corner, Va., Wednesday morning.

Contrails in the southern sky over Tysons Corner, Va., Wednesday morning.

The afternoon sky over Tysons Corner with cumulus and cirrus clouds together.

By Kevin Ambrose  | May 27, 2010; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Photography  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Steamy day sets stage for thundery night
Next: Video: Angry weather caller


Very pretty.
Perhaps you will have something more exciting to photograph up there this afternoon.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | May 27, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I have my cameras ready to go if we get some storm activity later today.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | May 27, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Correction..."alto-cirrus" is not an officially recognized cloud type, though I observed a nice mixed mackerel sky yesterday morning consisting of cirrus and cirrocumulus, with a smattering of lower altocumulus yesterday morning. This could be indicative of the generally unstable conditions forecast today into tomorrow. The afternoon sky was a mixed cumulus/cirrus sky which I observed at Kenmore Middle School, Ballston and other locales.

This morning has been largely clear. Currently no cumulus seems to be popping up. If it does, it could build to congestus rather quickly, with further Cb development. The atmosphere seems to be rather well-capped right now, but frontal approach from the northeast could break the cap.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | May 27, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Glad you got shots of these...I noticed how full the sky was with contrails yesterday, despite the heat and humidity closer to the ground!

Posted by: Ann-CapitalWeatherGang | May 27, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

maybe it's just me, or maybe i'm a bit grumpy right now...but those contrails strike me as being more like graffiti. they seem to mar an otherwise pretty sky. like i said, maybe i'm just grumpy right now....

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | May 27, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

not as grumpy as that lady who missed part of criminal minds because of a tornado warning.....

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | May 27, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Bombo47jea, good catch on the cirrus cloud types. walter-in-fallschurch, I usually don't like contrails when I'm photographing a nice sunrise or sunset scene, but during the day when they form patterns in the sky, I find it interesting.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | May 27, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2012 The Washington Post Company