Roger's SkyPix

Mini Cloud Atlas

Horseshoe Vortex

Horseshoe Vortex

A broad field of cumulus humilis and fractocumulus raced northward, almost at our own interstate highway pace, on a very dynamic day of high severe weather risk. An environment of strong vertical shear is good for the formation not only of supercells, but of much smaller vortices for much different reasons. Horseshoe vortices are harmless, but interesting to watch. Spinning tubes of air that form as shear eddies, on or just inside the edge of a cumulus cloud, will maintain their condensation longer than the cumulus since they don't tend to mix with surrounding drier air as readily. This process leaves these rotating tufts of cloud material orphaned out in clear air, where they too eventually will dissipate.

2 SE Newton, KS (5 Jun 8) Looking NNW

Solar Flattening 2