November 6, 2013

Mackerel Sky

One of the college courses I took was the fabulously named, “wind & weather for the serious yachtsman” and it was a meteorology course. If you’re in the ocean with no radio, you need to be able to read the sky. I loved it and have been a big sky-watcher ever since. As I left the office at lunch today, I happened to glance up and see the most amazing mackerel sky. I remembered from my class that this is unusual in that it was a very high sky and that it indicated rain in the forecast. In fact, there’s an old mariner’s rhyme that says, “Mackerel sky, mackerel sky. Never long wet and never long dry”.clouds

The occurrence of these clouds is an indicator of moisture and instability at intermediate levels of 8,000-20,000 feet. As soon as I posted a picture of these clouds on my FB page, I noticed that others were posting them, too.

Our local investigative paper, Baltimore Brew had these two images. baltimore brewbaltimore brew2

An old sailing team mate, Pete Carrico, posted this from the Naval Academy in Annapolis. pete

Washington Cube, the pseudonym of a Washingtonian friend, posted this from the late afternoon. wash cube

My friend Mary, who writes Barn Bug Studio Blog, weighed in with this stunner,mary2which then lead to this amazing shot. mary c

To see some pictures of another unusual cloud formation from a few summers ago, click here.

26 comments:

  1. My goodness. When we say What a beautiful today we have no idea why unless wind and weather for the serious yachtsman a student we be.

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  2. I learn so much reading this blog.

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  3. I got some beautiful shots of those clouds as the sun was going down yesterday. I had no idea that was their name. I liked my images so much that I started a painting of them as a baby gift for a little girl being born at that very minute.

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    1. kerry - can't wait to see what you come up with!

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  4. Amazing pictures. Makes me want to paint skies!

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  5. Beautiful! Always something interesting to learn from you. Thanks.

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  6. Hi Meg,
    These images are soulful. Makes me want to return to life on the East Coast. Different skies and light and life. Thank you for waking me to such beauty. xoxo
    Mary

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  7. How funny -I noticed the sky too as I left work to meet some friends and as soon as I arrived -they too commented on the sky! Wish I had snapped a picture of it over the C&O canal as I left the office but I was in a hurry.

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    1. very unusual sky and i am glad people looked up to see it.

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  8. I saw them all over instagram yesterday. I know of mare's tails but I've never heard of mackerel sky before. Very interesting.

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  9. Thanks for including my pics, Meg. I had never heard the term, mackerel sky. It was just beautiful all day. Wish I'd stayed down by the river a little longer to see if all that red was reflected in the water. That second shot I took standing on my back steps. Love this time of year!

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    1. thanks for letting me swipe your pix! i wish you'd seen the moon last night, too. low huge crescent moon.

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  10. Mackerel sky, haven't heard that in years + my dad use to use it to describe the sky + beautiful shots.xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  11. The Baltimore Sun ran an image with the story on the 200th homicide victim---- the photographer composed a dramatic picture as the camera was angled to capture the balloon, the building and the heavens above wearing this rare mackerel cloud cover.

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  12. Beautiful post and I learned something too, thank you!

    Francie

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  13. Meg these are gorgeous images; those clouds are amazing!

    xoxo,
    Karena
    In with the Old: Jennifer Boles

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  14. Noticed the unusual sky here in New Market too. Thank you for posting.

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