I love weird weather. Hot, sunny days are all well and good but I find stormy, dramatic skies especially thrilling. Even when they pour water on me and mess up my hair. This morning, from the windows of our office in Southend-on-Sea, we were treated to a particularly incredible sight – mammatus clouds!
Here’s a photo I took of them:
Mammatus clouds are clouds that have numerous pouches hanging underneath. They’re basically clouds with udders. Indeed, “mammatus” comes from the Latin “mamma” which means “udder” or “breast”, and you can see why they were given that name. As well as having a breast-like appearance, mammatus clouds are often portents of very stormy weather. (Unfortunately, at the time of writing, we’ve only had a few pitiful rumbles… Very disappointing!)
Here are some incredible photos of mammatus clouds that have been taken around the world:
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
These ones look very bizarre indeed. They almost look like giant balloons. Or nefarious UFOs with plans of world domination, of course…
New York City, USA
I love the colours of these mammatus clouds over New York City… I’m guessing this photo was taken in the evening.
Squaw Valley Ski Resort, Olympic Valley, California, USA
This is probably my favourite photo (after the one I took, obviously). Everything about the sky just looks so eerie and foreboding…
San Francisco Bay, California, USA
It’s beginning to look like the US might be the best place to go and see mammatus clouds. Either that or Americans just spend a lot of time taking photos of clouds… This one’s quite pretty. I love the way the sun’s rays are streaming out through the clouds…
Central New South Wales, Australia
This photo was taken from an altitude of 17,000 feet, so you can really see the udders close-up…
Sierras de Córdoba Mountains, Argentina
This is definitely the subtlest photo; the mammatus clouds aren’t as obvious as in the other photos. Still very strange and pretty, though.
I love the combination of the rounded mammatus clouds and the streaky clouds (I’m sure there’s a more scientific name for them…) around the edges in this photo…
Have you been lucky enough to catch some mammatus clouds (or any kind of weird weather, for that matter) on your travels? If so, send your photos to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or post them on our Facebook page. Don’t forget to tell us where you were when you took them!