Photo galleries around here are full of dramatic cloud shots created by some of the tallest mountains, be int Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood or even just the Cascades or Olympics.
But mountains don't have to be measured in thousands of feet to create their own weather patterns.
We've had a number of examples lately where some of of the region's regular-sized hills have done a good job of at least generating their own cloud layers.
The clouds are formed by the winds racing up the hillsides as the local air mass sits right on the edge of saturation. Rising air cools and while it's certainly not a dramatic cooling over such a short distance, it's just enough in these examples to make its own clouds and fog.
The photo above of Tillamook Head just south of Seaside's beach shows the marine air along the ocean was just on the cusp of saturating, and the onshore wind was pushed up the side of the hill and condensed into fog.
Here is a great example of Whidbey Island making its own weather, courtesy of SkunkBayWeather.com
And here is an example from 2012 of the fog rolling up and over Bainbridge Island;
The photo gallery above also has some other recent examples.
The wildfires raging across Washington, Oregon and Idaho are not only bringing a dense, smoky haze to much of the area just to the east of the Cascades, but its effects are being felt over 1,000 miles away across the Upper Midwest.
We're all likely familiar with what a hail storm looks like from the ground -- around here, it's as if someone dumped gazillions of frozen peas on the ground... if the peas were made of ice.
But have you ever seen a big hailstorm from the top? (And I mean BIG hailstorm, not the "what passes for big in Portland but Midwesterners and East Coasties laugh as child's play" hailstorm? The kind that could be disguised as a golf ball or, when you're really in for it, a softball?)
Tuesday was a big day in the science community with the release of a major federal scientific report on climate change.
The 840-page report, several years in the making, looks at regional and state-level effects of global warming, compared with recent reports from the United Nations that lumped all of North America together. A draft of the report was released in January 2013, but this version has been reviewed by more scientists, the National Academy of Science and 13 government agencies and had public comment.
It is written in a bit more simple language so people could realize "that there's a new source of risk in their lives," said study lead author Gary Yohe of Wesleyan University in Connecticut.