Cap Clouds over the San Francisco Peaks

A fast-moving storm system passed over northern Arizona on Wednesday. Snowfall amounts were generally 2–4 inches in the higher terrain of Coconino County and 2–6 inches in eastern Arizona. Clouds exited the region overnight leaving clear skies in the Flagstaff area. A check of satellite data suggested some clouds over the San Francisco Peaks so I headed out for some photos and video of the sunrise.

First light on the cap cloud atop the San Francisco Peaks (0712 MST 17 Feb 2022).
First light on the cap cloud atop the San Francisco Peaks (0712 MST 17 Feb 2022).
Sunlight illuminating both clouds and snow-covered peaks (0716 MST 17 Feb 2022).
Sunlight illuminating both clouds and snow-covered peaks (0716 MST 17 Feb 2022).

There was a cap cloud over the peaks that was generated by strengthening northeasterly flow moving into the Inner Basin and rising over the summits. The cloud could be seen dissipating as it moved down the southwest flanks of the mountains.

Time-lapse video of the sunrise on the cap cloud atop the snow-covered San Francisco Peaks.

I shot video using a Sony RX10—but the battery gave out sooner than expected owing to the cold (+14 °F; –10 °C). Still, I was able to get about 24 minutes and then compressed this down to about 11 seconds.

Another storm seems likely next week.

1 Comment

  1. Beautiful images! I wish I was there in Flagstaff now…been there twice before in late Spring and early Summer, it sure looks beautiful in the snow.

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