Extremely rare horseshoe vortex cloud over Endicott, New York


This extremely rare horseshoe vortex cloud was photographed in the sky over Endicott, New York on February 3, 2016.

This cloud forms in a region of rotating air, or vortex. Such vortices usually form vertically, sometimes leading to waterspouts or even tornados. But, occasionally, they can develop with a horizontal axis and give rise to a gently rotating crescent of cloud.

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Photographer unknown via VK

The Cloud Appreciation Society ranks the horseshoe vortex cloud as one of the rarest of all.

Some say that a horseshoe brings luck only when it is pointing upwards and holding the luck in. Others claim that, when pointing down, it allows luck to fall onto those below.

Here a 2012 timelapse video of such a cloud forming before fading away over Patagonia:

As horseshoe vortex clouds tend to point downwards and so any cloudspotters already fortunate enough to see one will want to stand below it to top up on their luck.

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