What do you make of this freak event?

Tim Johnson

source : http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2...tent_390884.htm

Noon turns to night as cloud blacks out sun
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-11-12 08:57



Day turned to night across Shenyang when a freak cloud formation 8,000 metres deep blanketed the northeastern city.

For over half-an-hour noon was as black as midnight. Cars, buses and lorries went someway to breaking up the darkness.

Tremendous lightening flashes accompanied the phenomena, reports the website www.sina.com.cn. <----(chinese text only at this link)

Convergence of two cloud fronts formed the 8,000-metre-thick connective cloud cluster.

With sky and sun effectively blocked out, visibility was reduced to near zero, according to an expert from the provincial capital's meteorological bureau.

The marvellous spectacle was also reported in many other areas of Liaoning Province and lasted for half an hour in some places, he said.

The meteorologist warned that temperatures are likely to plummet in the coming days.

Very odd indeed!
So it was an 8km thick cloud? Which is like what, 25,000 feet? Aren't there 25k ft thick clouds that don't precipitate in the western US occasionally ('dry thunderstorms')? There are many storms in the US each year that grow to 55-60k feet, so I'm not entirely sure what's the special part about this... ? Somehow I think "dark as midnight" isn't literally as dark as midnight, just probably pretty dark (especially relatively to noontime sunshine)... Add in a touch of intense pollution, and I can see how things can get "dark" quickly...
Dark as midnight; probably referring to the fact that there wasn't a lot of light pollution to help light things up when this storm passed. I've seen thunderstorms that make it look almost as if night had fallen... that's nothing new; especially those dry thunderstorms in the summer where the clouds turn ominously black and depending on where you are and how far out to the horizon you can see, add the mountains behind you and it sometimes feels like nighttime (although not quite that dark).
The photo included does seem to back that up, unless it was taken late....but I don't understand the part about temperature drop over the next few days. :?:
Yeah I think the "dark as midnight" and the "visibility reduced to near zero" phrases were exaggerated for effect (and possibly due to some misunderstanding in the translation - remember this is the same country that has reported basketball sized hail). Although I have experienced thunderstorms where I've needed to turn on all the lights in the middle of the day....and have seen automatic street lights go on during the middle of the day.
I looked through all the METARs for ZYTX from the 9th to the 12th and mostly what I turned up is some bad smoke and fog followed by a thunderstorm that cleared everything out. Looks like a warm front episode. I think there is some exaggeration in the news translation (how many times have I seen Asian media refer to localized tornado events as "cyclones").


ZYTX 081300Z 10002MPS 2500 BR FU OVC033 07/05 Q1023 NOSIG=
ZYTX 081400Z 10003MPS 0600 R06/0600V1400D FG OVC030 06/05 Q1024
ZYTX 081500Z 08002MPS 0200 R06/0250N FG OVC023 06/05 Q1023 NOSIG=
ZYTX 081600Z 10002MPS 0150 R06/0175N FG OVC023 05/04 Q1023 NOSIG=
ZYTX 081700Z 08002MPS 0150 R06/0200N FG OVC023 04/03 Q1023 NOSIG=
ZYTX 081800Z 04002MPS 0150 R06/0200N FG VV/// 02/02 Q1023 NOSIG=
ZYTX 081900Z 04001MPS 0500 R06/0225N FG SKC 01/01 Q1023 NOSIG=
ZYTX 082000Z 00000MPS 1400 R06/P1500N BR SKC 01/00 Q1023 NOSIG=
ZYTX 082100Z 06002MPS 3000 BR SKC 01/00 Q1023 NOSIG=
ZYTX 082200Z 04003MPS 2000 BR SKC 00/00 Q1023 NOSIG=
ZYTX 082300Z 05002MPS 3000 BR FU NSC 01/00 Q1023 NOSIG=
ZYTX 090000Z 07003MPS 2500 R06/0900V1400U BR FU NSC 03/03 Q1023
ZYTX 090100Z 08001MPS 2500 R06/1300N BR FU BKN050 07/07 Q1023 NOSIG=
ZYTX 090200Z 07002MPS 2500 R06/1400N BR FU OVC040 09/08 Q1022 NOSIG=
ZYTX 090300Z 06001MPS 2500 BR FU OVC040 11/09 Q1022 NOSIG=
ZYTX 090400Z 06002MPS 2000 R06/1300N -TSRA BR SCT020CB OVC030 10/08
ZYTX 090500Z 09003MPS 2500 R06/1400N BR OVC030 12/10 Q1021 NOSIG=
ZYTX 090600Z 10003MPS 4000 BR BKN040 14/10 Q1020 NOSIG=
ZYTX 090700Z 17005MPS CAVOK 17/11 Q1019 NOSIG=