Yesterday, the family and I decided to spend the day at Mt. Evans. A really cool 14,240 foot peak that you can drive up most of the way and then you can climb your way to the peak.
Only my daughter and myself made the ascent to the peak, my wife and step-son got pooped out.
Anyway afterwards, we stopped at Summit Lake to take in the breathtaking beauty, this lake is just under 13,000 feet and can be seen from the summit of Mt. Evans and is almost surrounded by thousand foot cliffs.
I kept my eye on the skies as it was starting to cloud up and being well above tree line on a high mountain where you are the tallest thing around is not ideal if there starts to be lightening.
Sure enough an impressive looking piece of forked lightning flashed its way across the peak of Mt. Evans and after an ear splitting and thunderous clap of thunder reverberated around the high cliff walls of the lake basin, it was time to go.
We had not even made it down to tree level when we see this very impressive sight......
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This is a classic example of what they call a Cold Air Funnel, it's not formed by the mixing of hot and cold air like typical tornados are, instead a cold air funnel is a high based weak circulation that occurs in a cool air mass. By high based it is meant it develops well above the earth's surface.
The mixing of cool and windy conditions in the lower troposphere with air in the middle troposphere flowing in a different direction may spark the rotation that spins up the funnel. If the air is moist enough and rises enough the condensation funnel will be visible
Since these are high based phenomena, it was cool that we were still over 11,000 feet in altitude to be able to see one close up.