Jumping jellyfish! What are those clouds?


roanoke, virginia – The past two mornings, you may have looked up at the sky and thought you were invaded by a new species of flying jellyfish.

It sounds like some kind of marine horror movie, but that wasn’t what was actually happening (and I think you knew that anyway).

Doug Butts, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, said these were likely clusters of cirrus clouds.

According to the International Cloud Atlas, these are “cirrus clouds in the form of more or less isolated small round tufts, often with trails.” When observed at an angle greater than 30 degrees from the horizon, the apparent width of the tufts is 1. Sometimes it’s smaller than a degree, sometimes it’s larger. ”

Precipitation (probably snow) was about to fall, but it had fallen into a layer of dry air before it got close to the ground.

What you see is mostly an evaporation trail or tail, which we call a “virga.”

A photo of Virga in Christiansburg taken by Valerie Young on Monday morning. (Copyright 2024 by WSLS 10 – All rights reserved.)

You can see why by looking at the weather balloon launched Tuesday morning by the National Weather Service in Blacksburg.

If the red line (temperature) and green line (dew point) are close, the air is saturated. If they are far apart from each other, the air will be dry.

Tuesday morning weather balloon data from the National Weather Service in Blacksburg. (Copyright 2024 by WSLS 10 – All rights reserved.)

If you take a photo of this phenomenon, You can send it through Pin It A chance to be featured on broadcasts and the internet!

Angie S.

There were cool clouds at sunrise this morning.

Copyright 2024 by WSLS 10 – All rights reserved.



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