Lenticular clouds, lens-like

Lens-like, ‘lenticular’ clouds are often seen on partly cloudy days during high winds, especially (in the northern hemisphere) on the east side of mountainous places like by the southern Sierra Nevada mountains, where sharp peaks of Mt Whitney reach hundreds of feet high above the surrounding cliffs and valleys, creating, small, localized disturbances in the flow of air in the often windy atmosphere. An orographic effect certainly appears involved with the mountains and their formation, but smaller, weak lenticulars can also appear in wide valleys during cold fronts.

These clouds resemble UFOs’ unique saucer shapes and are known to appear in groups. Mistaken sometimes for cap clouds which hug mountains and storms, lenticular clouds sometimes appear to be rotating, but they are not necessarily vortices and aren’t closely related to thunderstorms and tornado formation. If they ever appear together, it’s coinciding with higher wind speeds.

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