WEED, Calif. — A mysterious sight in the skies in Siskiyou County this week wasn't a plane or UFO, but actually a particular type of cloud that tends to form near mountains.
The Shasta Trinity National Forest shared a photo of what's known as a lenticular cloud hovering near Mt. Shasta on February 12.
Officer Paul Zerr, the Shasta-McCloud Management Unit Fire Management Officer, took the photo around 7:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. It was captured just north of Exit 747 on the southbound side of the Cascade Wonderland Highway near the Weed Store.
Lenticular clouds are stationary clouds that are shaped like a lens and normally develop on the downwind side of a mountain or mountain range. They are most common during the winter months and Mt. Shasta is one of the places to spot them in the state and perhaps the country, says the Shasta-Trinity National Forest Service.
When there is sufficient moisture present above the top level of the mountain, the clouds develop within the crest of the mountain waves where the air is rising.
Forecasters say the clouds are most often seen in the winter or spring when winds aloft are typically the strongest.