Sunday, March 29, 2009

Honey Lake Update: Dust, Rain, and Water

While out driving around last week, I stopped at the Honey Lake Rest Area on Highway 395 between Reno and Susanville, and watched a dust storm, with scattered dust devils, on the Honey Lake playa. Honey Lake is shown on this map and photos as a lake, but it isn't much of a lake these days.
It was a dark and stormy day, and one particular dust storm arose, grew, whirled a bit, and dissipated while I watched. The photos of this storm were taken looking a little north of east from the rest area.
The Skeddadle and Amedee Mountains form the backdrop for this particular dust storm.
Here, the dust storm does a bit of whirling, forming a wide-diameter dust devil, prior to dissipating.
While the dust storm gets smaller, a vaguely funnel-shaped cloud forms above it. This cloud is probably not a funnel cloud, though I have seen small funnel clouds above large dust devils.
Now the dust storm is getting thinner and thinner, dwindling while I stand in the rain, getting wetter and wetter.
Meanwhile, a bit to the south, some classic dust devils arise in the desert mirage.
My favorite mirage-based dust devil of the day.
cloud1 The clouds above the larger dust storm formed interesting shapes, especially as the dust storm was winding down. Here are a couple enlargements of the cloud shapes.
raven On the next day, the storm - wind and rain - was mostly gone, the playa was wetter, and vultures flew back and forth in front of me.
A little farther south, in the southwest arm of Honey Lake, I spotted some water in the lake (enlarge and look closely!).
The water was south of The Island, almost lapping up against a landform I sometimes call "the bluff." I'm always a bit happier when I can spot some water in Honey Lake.


Lockwood said...

I spent one of the most unpleasant nights of my life at the campground at Honey Lake. The wind kicked in at dusk, and just howled all night long. My tent stayed down, but it was like being in a drum. Several high-profile tents went rolling, with people still inside them! Many items missing the next morning.

Nice area, but I won't stay overnight again.

Nom DePlume said...

I always dread that stretch of road, thanks for all the great pictures from my favorite patch of the US.

Silver Fox said...

Lockwood, you mean you camped at the rest area? It's not really a place I'd like to stay, although the trees are nice.

Non DePlume, they have gradually added more passing areas on that part of 395; that stretch was really bad before the passing lanes and back when the speed limit was 55. I often drove 50 instead of passing with all the crazy people.

Lockwood said...

No, there's a commercial campground up a lttlie bit on the hill on the west side of the highway. I think it may be primarily for RVs, but they accept tent camping. It was still there when I went through the area a year ago. Nothing fancy, but better than most rest areas :-)

Arvind said...

Beautiful pics!

Silver Fox said...

Arvind, thanks! Glad you enjoyed them.

Desert Survivor said...

Excellent photos!

Silver Fox said...

Desert Survivor, thanks!