Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:07 PM GMT on May 26, 2005
The photo below posted today, titled, "Strange clouds" is an example of virga. Virga (also called fallstreaks) are wisps or streaks of rain or ice crystals precipitating out of a cloud, which evaporate before hitting the ground. Virga falling from high clouds made of ice crystals frequently angle back from the parent cloud, as seen in the photo below, "Sunset Virga". This happens because the winds at cloud level (where the jet stream can be) are usually higher than the winds closer to the surface. However, the photo "Wispy downward trend" shows virga falling from a cloud where the winds at cloud level and below are the same.
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