An interesting weather phenomenon called a mountain wave, formed a beautiful standing lenticular cloud for about an hour over Clingmans Dome. Lenticular Clouds are quite common in the western mountainous and desert regions of the US, but occasionally form on some of the highest peaks in the Smokies, like Clingmans Dome and Mount LeConte. Unfortunately, with the shutdown we will not be able to collect the wind speed information, but it was probably in the 50 to 60 mile an hour range.
Lentinculars form when dry stable air crosses a mountain barrier. Dry air flowing up the windward side of the mountain is smooth, but built in layers. The mountain barrier will set up waves in these layers, and these waves will remain within a stationary area, while the wind blows rapidly through them. Standing lenticular clouds form in the crests of the mountain wave where the rising updraft of the wave has cooled and moisture has condensed. The clouds dissipate in the downdrafts of the wave where the air has descended and warmed to the point where the moisture evaporates and is no longer visible. This is why the clouds are called "standing". They stay in the crests of the mountain waves and do not move with the wind flow.
This particular lenticular had extreme turbulance and a strong rotating rotor cloud at its base. Being on the Dome this morning would have been like being in a mild chilly wind tunnel.
Hiking in the Smokies