A relatively rare display of lenticular clouds over the Teton Range last Friday captivated park staff and visitors alike with their graceful and continuously changing shape.
Lenticular (lens-shaped) clouds occur when stable, moist air flows over a mountain or range of mountains, creating a series of large-scale standing waves on the downwind side. If the temperature at the crest of the wave drops to the dew point, moisture in the air may condense to form lenticular clouds.
“It was the most unusual cloud formation that I have ever witnessed over the Grand Teton in nearly 40 years of living in Jackson Hole,” said Jackie Skaggs, the park’s public affairs officer. “Often it looked like Niagara Falls, and then it would appear to be a huge bird with outstretched wispy wings and its beak just touching the top of the Grand Teton.”
Below is a photo of the cloud, which was published on the Teton's Facebook page last week: