After more than a week of unseasonably dry weather, there was a build up of cumulonimbus clouds over Mutare on the afternoon of December 4, 2016. They developed rapidly spreading anvil clouds with spectacular mammatus clouds on their undersides. Very strong winds blowing radially outwards deformed these to produce the amazing patterns shown in the photographs on this page. Despite some rumbles of thunder only virga – rain that falls from a cloud but does not touch the ground – was produced.
The pictures were taken using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ60 camera in auto exposure mode.
Quite an incredible display!
P.S. At the bottom, you’ll find a mosaic that shows the development of similar cumulonimbus to anvil and mammatus clouds, which took place about three hours earlier the same day. This is a classic textbook example of how they form.
Bottom line: Patterns in mammatus clouds, Mutare, Zimbabwe, December 4, 2016.
Dr. Peter Lowenstein has contributed many beautiful and fascinating images and stories to EarthSky. Trained as a geochemist, he spent his early years with the Geological Survey of Papua New Guinea, specializing in metals and volcanoes. In 1989, he moved to the Zimbabwe Geological Survey as Chief Economic Geologist and has lived and worked in Zimbabwe ever since. Peter is now retired to Zimbabwe, in a house with a beautiful view in Murambi East, Mutare, where he pursues favorite hobbies including construction of electronic gadgets, listening to music, gardening, surfing the Internet ... and photography.