Beautiful Cloud Formations on September 12, 2001

These images were taken about 8:45 AM on September 12, 2001. The tails on these clouds are precipitating ice crystals (snow!). Vertical profile data and observations from the surface indicate that they are somewhere between 13,000 and 20,000 feet. Temperatures at this level are below freezing. The precipitating ice crystals sublimate as they fall, possibly hitting the melting layer, creating the tail-like structures. The Science and Operations Officer in Dodge City, KS has come up with a best guess name for these clouds: "Cirrus Floccus Intortus Altocumulogenitus" is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.