Mountains don't need to be big to create their own weather

Mountains don't need to be big to create their own weather
A small fog bank is created over Tillamook Head just south of Seaside, Ore. on July 10, 2014.

Photo galleries around here are full of dramatic cloud shots created by some of the tallest mountains, be it Mount Rainier, Mount Hood or even just the Cascades or Olympics.

But mountains don't have to be measured in thousands of feet to create their own weather patterns.

We've had a number of examples lately where some of of the region's regular-sized hills have done a good job of at least generating their own cloud layers.

The clouds are formed by the winds racing up the hillsides as the local air mass sits right on the edge of saturation. Rising air cools and while it's certainly not a dramatic cooling over such a short distance, it's just enough in these examples to make its own clouds and fog.

The photo above of Tillamook Head just south of Seaside's beach shows the marine air along the ocean was just on the cusp of saturating, and the onshore wind was pushed up the side of the hill and condensed into fog.

Here is a great example of Whidbey Island making its own weather, courtesy of SkunkBayWeather.com



And here is an example from 2012 of the fog rolling up and over Bainbridge Island;



The photo gallery above also has some other recent examples.