Seeing Shapes in Clouds – Tornadoes and Pterodactyls

Massive collections of tiny water droplets. This is what clouds are. I can’t say I understand the mechanics of why they stay up in the air any better than I understand why an airplane stays aloft. But let’s just say they do, and I’ll show you some of the clouds that have passed over my house.

In my part of the world, the weather usually arrives from the West, blown in by the winds that are almost always present to some degree. Now and then an East Wind will blow and it will bring in the smell of the nearby Feed Lot. Or a South East Wind will blow from, I don’t know, maybe the United States, and we will feel quite unsettled and threatened until the wind shifts and comes from the West again. Shifting winds blowing ever changing clouds across the sky.

When I was a kid, I liked to watch clouds like this drift overhead. I liked to imagine they were a particular object or animal. This group of clouds didn’t bring to mind anything recognizable, but they are what I call Safe Clouds. They don’t forecast any particularly disagreeable weather event.

This group of Safe Clouds were casually passing over when a group of darker, Angry Clouds appeared. Now, instead of looking for shapes in clouds, I looked for shapes in the remaining blue sky.

These were Popcorn Clouds. They formed quickly and were fascinating to watch, but they also told me it was time to pack up the gardening tools because a thunderstorm was on the way.

A few Wispy Clouds were being crowded out by Safe Clouds, Angry Clouds and Popcorn Clouds. This was a very busy cloud day.

Angry Clouds and Popcorn Clouds dominated this sky. The Angry Clouds were scooting over at a much lower elevation than the others, and were forming all sorts of interesting shapes, like whales and pterodactyls. These were once Safe clouds but they had crossed over to the Dark Side.

tornado funnel cloudThis was a Funnel Cloud. On a scale of 1 to 10, this cloud was at the high end of interesting, but not one I wanted to have pass over the top of my house. It was a very noisy cloud, and for a few long seconds it sounded like a train was passing right over head.

Today, well, today the clouds are a dull blanket of grey. A light rain is falling, and they say this will continue for days. Today’s clouds aren’t very photogenic.

Every cloud has its silver lining but it is sometimes a little difficult to get it to the mint.
– Don Marquis –

14 thoughts on “Seeing Shapes in Clouds – Tornadoes and Pterodactyls

  1. I’m so glad I found you! I love your blog! I love it so much, I’m putting you on my blogroll to make it easier to follow you and to help others find you, too. I’m in the same generation as you (50-65), but I’m close to the far edge. Great cloud pictures. I used to love lying on my back on the grass when I was young and just staring at the clouds. I guess most of us did that.


    1. Hi Coming East – It was nice to find your blog today too! I think a lot of us stared at the clouds. We didn’t have television or all the other electronics that kids have today, so watching clouds was a form of entertainment!


  2. Hi,
    Fantastic photo’s. I love your explanations for all the different clouds, one thing I never thought of doing was looking for shapes in the sky once the clouds had formed, it is a great idea, I will have a go at that next time we have a lot of cloud around.


  3. Lovely! My photos of clouds always look like shots I took by accident when I was getting my camera out.

    Speaking of weather coming from the west, I remember hearing Fannie Flagg say that she started out as a weather girl. She didn’t know anything about weather, so she took the afternoon weather girl’s chart and moved everything over toward the east. That was the weather prediction.

    Your angry cloud photo is awesome!


    1. Fannie would have had no problem making weather predictions here then! It really isn’t hard to take cloud photos around here. Nature just keeps throwing them out all summer long. All I have to do is stand in the back yard in the afternoon and point my camera. But thanks for the compliments!


  4. Beautiful shots. The funnel one is amazing (although scary of course) We finally had a mostly sunny day yesterday after 2 weeks of rain and my daughter and I laid on the grass and she told me what she thought the clouds looked like. So peaceful!


    1. Maineiac- The funnel cloud was a once in a lifetime chance sighting. I was inside the house, looked out the front window and there it was! I watched it for a few seconds to see whether it was going to touch down. When it didn’t, I grabbed my camera and took the photo!


  5. I love that you quoted Don Marquis, and that your post reminds me of how, when I was a child and riding at the back of my dad’s car, I thought that the clouds were racing alongside the car! 🙂


    1. Hi Val. I used to like to get myself a bowl of vanilla ice-cream and sit and watch the clouds while eating it. The two just seemed to go together.


    1. Thanks Tien. I was at your site the other day and you’ve changed Themes! Isn’t it nice to be able to try out new themes so easily!


  6. YIKES! that funnel cloud photo is amazing. Scary though. We get our share of tornados around here, luckily they usually don’t evolve into much as they seem to do more often in the middle of the country, especially lately. But it seems like during the summer several times a week we are under some kind of tornado watch or warning. I’ve never seen a funnel cloud forming like that though… thankfully, I guess!


    1. Hi Brown Road – Canada has a Tornado Alley too, and we are on the Western edge of it. This was the first, and I hope last funnel cloud I ever see!


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