Turbulent Skies Over Green Lake

December 14, 2018 9:11am

Though I often capture scenic photos of colorful serene skies, today’s morning sky was all about the drama. With a strong storm system moving into the region today, I captured these images.

I’ll dip into my background as a meteorologist to define what makes them unusual. You’ll notice the surface of the lake is glassy. But looking at the chaotic appearance of the skies above, I can tell you that the atmosphere not far above the surface is turbulent. If you were flying in or out of an area airport this morning, you probably had a bumpy ride.

At the time the photos were taken, the wind was blowing 40 mph just 1200 feet above the ground. This creates an environment of what’s called “low level wind shear.” Essentially, the wind speed can change quickly only a few hundred feet off the ground and is challenging for pilots.

I checked and, sure enough, there were pilot reports of moderate to severe turbulence over the Olympic Peninsula this morning in the low levels of atmosphere. Welcome to storm season in Western Washington!