Lisa Nelson/NWS

Locals describe the scene at Mount Hood as “stunning” and “Monet-like.”

A gargantuan funnel of gray pouring from the top of Mount Hood—did Oregon’s iconic peak just blow its top?

Nooope. (Although one day it could, being a volcano that erupted periodically through the 1800s.) What people saw Wednesday was instead a huge, inverted shadow, cast upon a fiery sky by the rising sun.

Locals describe the scene as “stunning” and “Monet-like” on the Facebook page of Portland’s National Weather Service, which shared the above photo taken by Lisa Nelson. Meteorologist Scott Sistek has more great images at KOMO-TV, showing the shadow stretching like a blue stalactite over cold waters or pointing beam-like to the side as if it were a reverse-spotlight.

This is at least the second time in 2016 the mountain has made a floating penumbra over Oregon. Here are similar views from February 3:

About the Author

John Metcalfe
John Metcalfe

John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.

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