This Photo of Clouds in Minnesota Looks Like Crashing Ocean Waves

We've seen some incredible storm clouds, but nothing quite like this. Theresa Lucas was driving toward the town of Bemidji in Minnesota when she snapped a photo to show her daughter how far away she was. Little could she have known that her quick picture would cause a sensation. That's because she didn't just record her location, but also some incredible storm clouds that create a mind-bending illusion.

The dramatic storm system actually looks like ocean waves crashing down into the sky. In fact, when first scrolling down, you may think that you are looking at a photo of the ocean, only to discover that there is a highway below. So what type of clouds are we looking at? It appears that they are a cloud formation called asperitus, which was actually only recognized by the World Meteorological Organization in 2017.

According to the International Cloud Atlas, asperitus clouds are “well-defined, wave-like structures in the underside of the cloud; more chaotic and with less horizontal organization than the variety undulatus. Asperitas is characterized by localized waves in the cloud base, either smooth or dappled with smaller features, sometimes descending into sharp points, as if viewing a roughened sea surface from below. Varying levels of illumination and thickness of the cloud can lead to dramatic visual effects.”

The photograph gained traction online when it was posted by local television station WCCO-TV on both Facebook and Twitter, where people couldn't stop commenting about what they were seeing.

Perhaps, best of all, the photograph got everyone talking about how beautiful the sky is in Minnesota. People began posting their own cloud photos from the area, showing how they can appear as mountains, valleys, and much more. For Lucas, all the attention has been a pleasant surprise. What started out as a way to tell her daughter when she'd been home has turned into much more. She's now entered the image into the Minnesota State Fair, where hopefully it will get the prize that it deserves.

Theresa Lucas was driving in Minnesota when she happened to take a photo of an incredible cloud formation.

Crazy Cloud Illusion in Minnesota

Some people couldn't get over how much the clouds looked like waves crashing down.

Others shared their own incredible photos of Minnestoa's cloud formations.

h/t: [Reddit]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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