The comings and goings of summer clouds and snow | SierraSun.com

The comings and goings of summer clouds and snow

Norm and Alan Nicholls

What a fabulous summer so far. Despite the fires and the fear of possibly more, this has been a special summer at least for the Nicholls family.Our week at Kidd Lake came to an end but not before the celebration of my 60th Birthday and the surprise visit of my daughter, Christy, who flew all the way from South Carolina to be with her Dad on this special occasion. The five days she was here flew by, but we did have a lot of fun together.On July 20, we went to one of her (and our) favorite restaurants, the Village Pizzeria. We decided to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful sunny day. We gazed in awe at the dark blue skies and the white wispy clouds. The cloud formations that whole week were very unusual and were, what I learned to call, mare’s tails. As we were waiting for our check, I looked up and saw something I have never seen before. One of the cloud formations (yes, just one) began taking on a bluish color, then a green color, then a red, and so forth. It was like someone was beaming a spotlight on this particular cloud and that the colors were changing like the cellophane color wheels we used on our Christmas trees years ago. All the colors were colors of the rainbow, but were being cast on the cloud a color or two at a time.I e-mailed Mark McLaughlin, the Sierra Sun’s weather columnist, the following week and I asked him to explain what we had seen. Mark replied, I certainly remember seeing those cirrus clouds last Friday too. They were spectacular and one of the most interesting examples of that type I’ve ever seen, especially as they were in bright contrast to the deep blue sky.Mark went on to say, I made sure to point them out to my wife Nora. I figured that they were probably associated with the cooler air mass that followed that somewhat unseasonable cold front that passed through the region earlier in the week.Mark explained that wispy cirrus are high altitude clouds sometimes called mare’s tails because of their windblown look and are not uncommon at all, but the ones we saw were especially photogenic. These clouds form high in the atmosphere, above 17,000 feet, and are composed of ice crystals, not water droplets.The colors you saw were the ice crystals acting as prisms and splitting the white light into the primary band components we call the colors of the rainbow, Mark said. Interesting stuff, huh? Thanks Mark very much.

My wife, Alice, and I love the view we have of the Pacific Crest from Tinker Knob to Anderson Peak from our front deck. Every year I watch the patch of snow to the right and just below Tinker Knob dwindle in size over the summer. During years where we have had a normal snowfall, this patch seems to last until late September, or into October. When we have years of above average snow, like 2005-2006, the patch of snow remains through to the next winter. Last week, on July 26, the patch disappeared. Just another reminder of how lean the snow pack was this year. Another reminder is the abundance of wildlife this year. The squirrel, rabbit and coyote populations are alive and well in our neighborhood, which would seem to indicate a high survival rate of the animals through the winter.And, again this year, we do have another bear in our neighborhood who is becoming a real nuisance. According to our neighbors he visited our garage while we were camping at Kidd Lake. We keep our garage door open a couple of feet so our dog, Roamin’, can get in out of the garage at night. One night Mr. Bear bellied his way in to grab a bag of dog food from the garbage can we keep it in. Roamin’ went wild, waking the neighbors with his barking, but it didn’t phase Mr. Bear a bit. Our apologies to our neighbors.

Ron Rettig was our early bird winner with his answer to our question, Who was the previous commercial tenant in the old Truckee home at 11105 Donner Pass Rd. (where the Urgent Care clinic is now located). A local rag you may have heard of, the Sierra Sun! Thanks Ron for the answer and your bit of humor.Our second place winner was Al Salas Jr. who was home with his family for the week to attend a Truckee High School reunion. We are sure his parents Al Sr. and Sue loved every moment of their visit.Other winners included Barbara Brill, Shannon (Stubblefield) Thomas, Susan Kokenge (of the Sun who spent many years in that location), Keith Mickelson, Gordy Kjer, Mary De Lisle, Sharon Cook and Claire Aguera.Sharon remembers when the Sierra Sun office was located across the street from the downtown Fire Station to the right of the Truckee Mercantile. Mary remembers when the Sun was in the Westgate Center prior to moving to their present stealth location behind the Donner Gate Chevron.

For many years, residents of both Truckee and North Tahoe would fill up their jugs, bottles and jars with fresh, cold mountain spring water from a pipe sticking out of a hillside. On what Truckee road was the location of this pipe and source of this fabulous water? Call us at 550-5035 or email us at nnicholls@dicksonrealty.com with your answer.Norm and Alan Nicholls of the Nicholls Real Estate Group, are affiliated with Dickson Realty at 11500 Donner Pass Road.