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Amazing Photo: “UFO” cloud near Whenuapai airbase

Unstable weather conditions crossed Auckland city Sunday afternoon leading to one reader to capture this unusual cloud formation.

Whenuapai resident Charmaine Featherstone wrote on’s page around 5:30pm to say “Looked out the window about 1/2 hour ago and saw this…”

Charmaine went on to say the unusual cloud was “absolutely massive”. says unstable conditions are currently crossing over the Auckland region with large clouds bringing thunder and heavy downpours. 

“We have a shift in airmasses over the upper and western North Island at the moment, the mild air is about to give way to cooler sou’westers. During this change we’re seeing some rapid cloud formation, unstable conditions and unusual clouds as the updrafts and downdrafts do their work” says head weather analyst Philip Duncan.

“These clouds rapidly bubbled up over the Waitakere Ranges in the warm end of day sun, the slow movement means some downpours are likely to be heavy with isolated thunderstorms which could cause surface flooding in some suburbs  The risk for thunder will ease in the early evening but  isolated heavy showers may continue to pop up overnight”.

Showers will ease across Monday.

Photo by Charmaine Featherstone, Whenuapai, Auckland



johanna on 17/09/2012 4:35am

Is this a lenticular cloud?

WW Forecast Team on 17/09/2012 4:58am

Hi Johanna – we received more photos today which backed up the theory we had last night, that this was actually two clouds – a small one below the main thunderstorm.  This photo doesn’t show it, but the others show the lower part of the cloud to be quite small and looking partially separated.  So we think this was more of an optical illusion than anything else – and not lenticular which form at high altitudes (this was very low down)



richardmcb on 16/09/2012 10:46am

Around that time we had a short sharp ThunderStorm here in the Waitaks around Swanson. Not a lot but it seemed to be directly over head with impressive thunder, brilliant lightning and a decent hail storm. The hail was about the size of gravel.

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