Virginia residents were treated to a rare wave-shaped cloud formation earlier this week. The pattern looked like a beautiful design, custom made with hands. The stunning beauty was spotted at Virginia's Smith Mountain Lake on Tuesday evening. Facebook user Amy Christie Hunter who spotted the clouds posted the photo on social media after which it went viral. The picture may remind you of sea waves approaching the shore.
The National Weather Service (NWS) defines the clouds as "vertical waves in the air associated with wind shear across statically-stable regions." The natural phenomenon is known as Kelvin-Helmholtz Waves. NWS says, "They can appear as breaking waves and as braided patterns in radar images and cloud photos." Amazed by Aurora Borealis Pics? Scientists Study How the Beautiful Phenomenon of Northern Lights Occur.
Check out the picture of the rare cloud here:
The pattern of rolling waves is caused by different layers of the atmosphere with varying wind speeds. This creates an appearance of rolling waves and if the temperature and humidity are right, it can leading to a stunning pattern of clouds.
Adding about the phenomenon, NWS says, "Kelvin-Helmholtz waves develop due to different wind speeds in the atmosphere. Because the air is saturated at this level of the atmosphere, a cloud can form. At the top of the wave, the air is moving faster than the air at the bottom of the wave. The differing wind speed and density of the air from top to bottom are what allows the cloud to billow over like an ocean wave."