fb pixel

Log In


Reset Password

Amazing cloud was just another altocumulus

I was hiking up Roxy Ann Peak Tuesday evening and noticed an incredible cloud formation that was made even more spectacular by the sunset. Everybody on Roxy that day was pulling over and taking pictures. Was there anything unique about the cloud, other than its appearance that day?

— Robert, Medford

SYA reached out to the National Weather Service for this one, and meteorologist Michael Petrucelli responded with an answer that may be considered boring or uplifting, depending on how you look at it.

But first, the cloud. We’ve seen pictures and it was indeed spectacular. It looked like a giant, wavy, orange-pink smoke plume that had erupted out of the hills to the west and fanned out into an enormous V pattern.

According to Petrucelli, that cloud was what’s called an altocumulus, “which is not unusual.” The altocumulus, added Petrucelli, is a mid-level cloud that typically ranges between 6,500 and 25,000 feet.

“Based on the picture,” Petrucelli said, “my guess is it’s between 20,000 and 25,000 feet.”

So setting aside its beauty, the cloud’s most notable attribute was that its altitude probably ranks near the 99th percentile for altocumulus altitude.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

A cloud formation lights up the Rogue Valley sky Tuesday evening, as seen from Roxy Ann Peak. Photo by Joe Zavala