Mammatus and Mt. Blanc

July 15, 2006

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Provided by: Jean-Marie Schimpff, AT&E Architects
Summary authors & editors: Jean-Marie Schimpff

The photo above showing mammatus clouds looming over the French Alps was taken in the summer of 2003 from a Cessna 152 airplane. Stormy weather often occurs over the Sallanches area during mid to late summer. Mammatus clouds result from down-drafts of cold air within mature thunderstorm cells -- often on the underside of the spreading cumulonimbus anvil. The upper valley of Arve, in the mid-ground, stretches to the Mont Blanc massif -- in the background. Mont Blanc at 15,781 ft (4,810 m) is the highest point in Western Europe.

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