Rare wave-shaped clouds roll over Virginia

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A rare formation of clouds wowed onlookers at Virginia's...

Posted: Jun 20, 2019 8:00 AM

A rare formation of clouds wowed onlookers at Virginia's Smith Mountain Lake on Tuesday.

The photo shared on social media captured clouds that look like ocean waves in the sky. These clouds rarely form on windy and unstable days, but when conditions are just right, the natural phenomenon, known as Kelvin-Helmholtz Waves, occurs.

The National Weather Service defines it as "vertical waves in the air associated with wind shear across statically-stable regions."

"They can appear as breaking waves and as braided patterns in radar images and cloud photos," the NWS says.

In other words, different layers of the atmosphere have differing wind speeds, creating the appearance of rolling waves. If the temperature and humidity are just right, it can produce these striking clouds.

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Saint Joseph
Broken Clouds
42° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 37°
37° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 31°
Broken Clouds
42° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 37°
40° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 33°
39° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 35°
Highs will be in the mid to upper 40s on Friday and another disturbance will give us a chance for a few sprinkles across northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri. We dry out and temperatures will gradually climb back into the 50s and 60s by the weekend.
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