weird sky

Tonight, at around 8:15 p.m., Don called me to bring my camera and look at this weird cloud formation. This is not the sunset, but some clouds almost opposite the direction of the setting sun (click on images for larger view). I’m guessing that they were picking up some of the light from the sun, although it did not seem to be brilliant or rose-pink like this. It was a strange looking thing in any case, almost resembling a large pink funnel cloud. There was an opening in the cloud cover all around the top of it.

Somewhat coincidentally (I suppose), we had a very wild wind storm here this afternoon sometime after 4 p.m. The air had seemed calm, but looking up from some yard work, I saw a very threatening dark gray cloud racing east toward the farm. I quickly put away my tools and got indoors just before the wind went crazy. It seemed to be coming from every direction and the trees were swaying all around. I rushed to close windows around the house. In the midst off all of the blowing and banging of cupboard doors, the front door blew open and then slammed again while I was in another part of the house. It repeated this one more time before I could get to it to turn the deadbolt. As I bolted the door, I quickly realized that Sabrina wasn’t in the house with me anymore. She’s terrified of windstorms, and when frightened by the wind, she will run out of the house and head off into the pine forest to the east of us. Having had four Collies over the past 25 or so years, I’ve learned that most of them hate loud noises and will flee if they can. That’s exactly what Sabrina did today. She must have fled while the front door was momentarily blown open.

After realizing that Sabrina had disappeared, I raced outside into the storm with tree branches clashing, objects blowing around, and rain beginning to pelt down. After a minute or so of me calling her name, Sabrina trotted out of the trees. She looked frightened but relieved to see me. However, she refused to come to the house, so I opened the door of our van and she immediately hopped inside. She seemed fine once I’d shut the door, so I left her there and returned to closing windows in the house before the worst of the wind and rains hit. As the trees bent with the wind, I began thinking that perhaps Sabrina had the right idea. She and I might have ended up like Dorothy and Toto if she had stayed inside. The storm lasted for about fifteen minutes. When it had passed, I went out to the van and Sabrina hopped out, looking not too worried. Perhaps the van would be the best place for her to hide out in future.

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17 Responses to “weird sky”

  1. Ruth Says:

    Our dog is terrified of storms and hides in the basement bathroom in the tub. The last picture of Sabrina is a beautiful portrait!

  2. John Says:

    Bev, I love storms, but I don’t know how pets will react…different reactions for different pets. Your photo was beautiful. I don’t know why I am so attracted to storms. Even as a kid, dealing with hurricanes on the Texas coast, I loved the fury of nature. I’ll be interested to know what others say of your “sky glow” photo. I envy you being where you are…what a wonderful opportunity to live life! I was talking to an employee today about her husband’s former penchant for watching lightening storms from a float in their swimming pool. Even though it’s crazy, I can relate to the sense of wonde!

  3. am Says:

    I love the way you told the story that goes with your photos today. From the weird sky to the lovely portrait of resourceful Sabrina.

  4. pablo Says:

    Driving home from Iowa once many years ago, I saw a similar sort of sky. All of the thick clouds were white except for one shoved in the middle of them that was dark blue. Oddest thing I saw, and I couldn’t take my eyes off it (and I was driving).

    From your description of the wind, I’d guess that you were close to being in a tornado event. I wonder is one passed overhead.

  5. threecollie Says:

    Wow, I am so glad that you found her and that you both weathered the storm all right. We had wild storms too, with heavy metal chairs being blown around and our daughter’s pick up truck being scooted right off the road by it when she was driving home from the fair. Thankfully she was pushed right into a friend’s driveway.

  6. Mark Says:

    That is a unique looking pink tornado! :) It is one of my favorite things to do is to look in the opposite sky of the sunset to see what interesting things may be going on. Great story!

  7. Ontario Wanderer Says:

    Wonder what was happening with the weather yesterday. Here, near Brantford, Ontario, we too had a brief bit of high winds. My dog Calla and I went for a walk in the meadow as the trees around the house and her dog house were making threating moves. Nothing large fell.

    I put that katydid photo, plus two others, on my web site. It does not have much brown on its back so perhaps my first ID is still OK? Have a look when you have a moment. Thanks!

  8. Wayne Says:

    Both of those are very fine photographs, Bev. Sabrina amidst the queen anne’s lace is really excellent.

    We never had a dog that wasn’t terrified of thunder, although it may have had more to do with the pain of the noise. One german shepard transferred her fear to gunfire, and disappeared for six weeks. My father was frantic and searched for her all that time, finally locating her on the other side of Tallahassee, 30 miles away.

  9. bev Says:

    Ruth – We used to have a husky-greyhound who would push open the hall closet door and climb inside atop a box of mittens and scarves. If you opened the door, she would snarl and snap at the air – an unmistakeable statement about wanting the door to be shut again.

    John – I have something of a love-hate feeling toward storms. I love to watch them, and they can be rather spectcular here at our farm as we seem to be in some kind of “storm alley”, but they can become a little scary at times, especially when the lightning is zapping down all around us. We once offered our place to a couple to stay here while we were away on a trip. It just happened that a lightning storm hit on one of the nights while they were here. They said it was the most awesome and scary storm they had ever seen. When we first built here, I can remember thinking the same thing.

    am – thanks! I’m glad Sabrina had the good sense to just hide in the trees near the house and didn’t keep on going! I think it interesting that she feels it is safer to be in the forest than in the house.

    pablo – I’m wondering the same thing about this being an “almost tornado” event. In the midst of running around the yard searching for Sabrina, I looked out across the fields in front of our place and there was *a lot* of earth that seemed to be being sucked upwards and pulled along, so I’m wondering if a funnel cloud had indeed almost touched down.

    threecollie – Sounds like you had quite a storm too. I’m glad your daughter was okay! Yesterday, during the worst moments of the windstorm, I noticed a few cars pulled over off the highway in front of our place, so I’m sure the driving must have gotten a little hairy for short while.

    Mark – Yes! Indeed, it did look like a pink tornado, which we found quite amusing. That would be quite a thing, wouldn’t it? However, this was probably something much less dramatic. I’m guessing it was a cloud trailing some rain. Neat how just that one cloud seemed to pick up the bright pink light though.

    OW – I don’t know what is with the weather, but have you had an odd change in wind direction recently. Over the past couple of days, we’ve been getting cold wind out of the northwest. Yesterday morning, while I was taking the recycling boxes out to the roadside, the north wind was so cold that it almost felt like November (eeek!!!). The vegetation all around our place has been agitated by the wind for at least 2 days — not so good for insect photography unless you look deep inside the plants. Seems like very odd weather for mid August.
    I did check out your blog and left a post about the Katydid. I guess you saw my comment on your Flickr gallery as well.

    Wayne – thanks! I liked that shot of Sabrina among the flowers too. It seems that most dogs hate storms. I’d have to say that Sabrina is much less afraid of thunder than of wind. When there’s thunder, she goes around the house growling and barking in the same way that she does when she hears gunshots in the distance (we have a distant neighbour who does target practice some evenings). I think she learned to have the grumpy-growly response from Maggie, the older collie who is now deceased. The windstorm response is a lot more like your german shepherd. It’s a real “flight” response which is a bit scary as there’s always the chance she might flee and end up out on the nearby highway (a very scary prospect). Amazing that your father eventually located the dog considering how far away it had traveled. How lucky!

  10. Cathy Says:

    I haven’t even finished reading this, Bev. I got to the part about the door opening and slamming and I was thinking the Wizard of Oz scene that scared the be-jabbers out of me as a kid and then I read that Sabrina was gone and . . . . I scrolled to the end: WHEW! That is the most precious picture I’m likely to see on the internet. Whew!

    Now I’ll go back and finish this exciting piece.

  11. Cathy Says:

    Well. Bev, I think you know me as well as one can from blogs – I swear to heaven – I’d not gotten to your Dorothy and Toto comparison. Did you ever find out what hit you? Did anyone else experience this?

  12. bev Says:

    Cathy – I was very relieved that I found Sabrina as quickly as I did — but I had a couple of scary minutes before I did! I looked around the local online papers this morning and just found a brief story saying that yesterday’s windstorm knocked out power to about 10,000 households just outside the city in our direction. I spoke to someone who lives about 5 miles from here and they said it was very windy there too — a sudden wind that seemed to come out of nowhere. I went for a walk on our trails today and there are several trees that have been snapped off at the ground – poplars abour 4 to 5 inches in diameter. It must have been a bit like a microburst. What’s weird about it was how fast the air seemed to chill, and also how the wind seemed to be blasting in several directions at once. When I was in the house, it was like there was a vacuum as even the kitchen cabinets started opening and shutting like there were poltergeists in the house. Very odd event unlike anything I’ve seen here before. About 15 or so years ago, we did have a funnel cloud touch down and tear the roof off of our livestock barn, but this was very different…the “path” was a lot larger and wilder – but fortunately not so destructive.

  13. DougT Says:

    We had some wild weather over the weekend, too. I love the big Midwestern thunderstorms- but I’m ready for some sunshine. We have rare butterfleis ready for releasing…

  14. bev Says:

    Doug – I enjoy thunderstorms too – we used to have some real doozies up at my family’s cottage on the Ottawa River north of here. We got a lot of lightning where you hear the bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZAP almost at the same time as the flash. Pretty exciting! I usually keep the Monarch butterflies in my sun porch until bad rains are past. I never feel good about setting them outside when I know we’re due for some very bad weather.

  15. Carolyn Hoffman Says:

    Is that what they call noctilucent clouds? i think it might be.

    Carolyn H.

  16. Mark P Says:

    Bev, I just saw the cloud picture. The relativley clear area near it looks like something I have read about, but I can’t remember exactly what it was. The clearness within a cloudy area indicates an area of sinking air. I wish I could remember more about it, but I think it is associated with bad weather, so it’s consistent with your earlier wind storm.

    I don’t think the pink cloud is a noctilucent cloud. Noctilucent clouds are very high clouds usually seen at high latitudes at night. This appears to be lower than the almost-complete cloud cover. The color indicates illumination by the setting sun, the rays of which are depleted of blue by their passage almost horizontally through the atmosphere, and are therefore relatively red. It’s hard to see in the picture how the setting sun happens to illuminate that cloud but not the other, higher cloud cover, although it might help to know what the sky looked like in the west. I don’t think the pink cloud is under the clear area, since the sinking air would tend to become clearer rather than forming clouds. I suspect it might be outside that area, perhaps indicating an updraft associated with the downdraft in the clear area. In the atmosphere, as with many other things, if something goes down, something else must go up.

  17. bev Says:

    Carolyn – I looked around and found a couple of websites with images of noctilucent clouds and they looked rather different — see Mark’s comment for his explanation.

    Mark – I was hoping that you would comment on this post. Interesting about the clear area in this photo. Actually, it reminded me a little of a more dramatic “hole” in the clouds that I photographed here at the farm on October 9, 2004. If you click on this image, you can see a larger view posted in my “Sky Shots” gallery on Pbase:

    That formation was very bizarre — sort of like a giant donut hole that seemed very “tall”. The movement of the clouds inside of the hole was very agitated, and the formation itself was sort of monstrous. I was standing out in the field watching it and it was sort of spooky. I wondered if I should run for the house as it looked like something very alive.
    Regarding the pink cloud in this post, the sunset wasn’t actually that brilliant that evening and the sun was disappearing below the horizon. I was quite surprised to see such a pink glow considering the sunset.