The Sky’s Illusion: How a Minnesota Storm Cloud Formation Stunned the World
Incredible storm clouds are not uncommon, but the ones captured by Theresa Lucas in Minnesota were truly
mind-boggling. Lucas was driving towards Bemidji when she took a photo to show her daughter how far she
had traveled. She had no idea the photo would go viral on the internet.
The storm clouds resembled ocean waves crashing into the sky. At first glance, the photograph could be mistaken
for a seascape rather than a photograph of the sky. On closer inspection, however, a highway can be seen below.
What kind of clouds were these, specifically? As it turned out, they were asperitus clouds, a cloud formation that
the World Meteorological Organization only recently recognized in 2017.
Asperitus clouds are well-defined, wave-like structures on the underside of clouds, according to the International
Cloud Atlas. They are less organized horizontally and more chaotic than undulatus clouds. Asperitas has localized
waves at the cloud base that can be smooth or dappled with smaller features. They sometimes descend into
sharp points, giving the impression of looking down on a roughened sea surface. Variations in illumination
and thickness can produce dramatic visual effects.
The photograph went viral after it was shared on Facebook and Twitter by the local TV station WCCO-TV.
People were astounded and couldn’t stop praising the stunning image.
Theresa Lucas was driving in Minnesota when she happened to take a photo of an incredible cloud formation.
Furthermore, the photograph got everyone in Minnesota talking about how beautiful the sky is. People began
posting their own cloud photos from the area, illustrating how clouds can resemble mountains, valleys, and
other natural features. All of the attention was unexpected for Lucas. What started out as a way for her to show
her daughter how far she had driven turned into something much bigger. Lucas entered the image in the
Minnesota State Fair in the hopes that it would be recognized.