March Madness - Intercepting Sissycells!

March 07, 2014  •  2 Comments

March storm season has started out with a bang this year in Wyoming. We've had snow, then rain, and more snow, and now flooding in parts of the state. Global warming, ice ages, exploding space asteroids, El Meano, it's all happening!

After an uneventful day watching light snow squalls roll over Casper I noticed a clear patch of land from space (satellite images, I can't fly...yet), not far away, along the Casper Arch and southern Bighorn foothills. Hmmm, melting snow, balmy 40 degree weather, no wind shear...Total...Storm...Chasing...Weather!

So off I go. Doesn't take long to realize that my instinct was dead on today. On that slowly heating patch of land slumbering beasts began to awaken. Sissycells...

Seen here - mothership sissycell. An uncommon come on occurrence.

Jackpot. Rarely seen sissycells. Everyone gets so hyped about supercells and severe thunderstorms they end up overlooking these beautiful creatures of the sky. But not today. These cotton soft cells are getting some serious attention. From me. See, I even took a time lapse of one of them doing sissycell stuff. First time lapse of a Wyoming sissycell? Could be...

I contemplated calling it a day, I mean how much cooler could the evening get? Turns out much cooler...about 10 degrees. The sissycell I was on began to weaken and dissipate. But look at that white shaft of horror it left behind! Curving and falling gently to the ground...what could it be? Giant hail? Cotton candy from an invisible circus? Unicorn farts? 

Probably not unicorn farts...

I go to the jeep to put on my coat, look south, and see this amazing cold weather storm phenomenon! 

A low hanging cloud!

You saw it here first. A cloud below another cloud. Sissycells don't produce funnel clouds...or even mesocyclones for that matter. They are too badass for updraft. They are all about being soft and fluffy, and beautifully deceiving. Because they produce something unique, something only a sissycell is capable of producing. And that is bead sized hail. Or BS - H as I like to call it.

Ahhhhh, my Jeep!!!

Yup, I got totally hammered by this stuff while intercepting a cell just east of Powder River.

Look closely and you'll see the hellish streaks of BS - H.

Decided that was enough of sissycell intercepts for the day. Time lapsed one and photographed a bunch more. Punched the core of sissycell and got pew-pew'd by BS - H. Doesn't get much better than that for a March storm chase in Wyoming! But wait, more cells popping to the north.


And behind that line, even more! 

And more!!

Surrounded by sissycells. Fluffy poofiness everywhere. Totally safe, no lightning, no dangerous hail, no 70mph winds, no deadly tornadoes. This is the stuff dreams are made of.

Tangerine dreams.

For those who doubt the existence of the sissycell, I submit to you radar proof.

Unarguable. Proof.


Loved this! Thanks for bring back so any pleasant memories of my youth, growing up in Wyoming. Beautiful!
1.Perry Cross(non-registered)
Years ago I was driving from Powell to Cody, I saw a horizontal cloud over The dam that appeared to cascade like a waterfall down to another level, dissipating at the top and growing at the bottom, with a ribbon of cloud between. I even pulled over so that I could watch it. I have never seen anything like it before or since.
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