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East County News Service

June 18, 2022 (Shelter Valley) – Tina Goff snapped the photos left and below of saucer-shaped clouds at sunset from her home in Julian overlooking Shelter Valley around 8:06 p.m. on June 17.  Goffl quipped,  “They may be coming for us, LOL!”

Carol Birch also took pictures of the same beautiful and bizarre cloud formation. (right)

In fact their photos depict lenticular clouds, which are often likened to UFOS due to their lens-shaped appearance.  Lenticular clouds can form when win d runs perpendicular to a mountain or another tall object.  

When air blows across a mountain or a mountain range,  it can create a chain of large standing waves in the air downstream,  like ripples forming in a river when water flows over an obstruction. If there is enough moisture in the air, the rising motion of the wave will cause water vapor to condense, forming the unique appearance of lenticular clouds.

Pilots seek to avoid lenticular clouds, which signal turbulence and can also result in gusty winds on the ground below.

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