Sunday, November 26, 2017

Did you see this strange cloud in Massachusetts today?

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. - Several people messaged Boston 25 News on Facebook about a very unusual cloud in the sky Sunday afternoon. 

They asked us what it could be, so we turned to our meteorologist, Sarah Wroblewksi, for some scientific knowledge. 

"Pretty cool… best guess… I think a hole punch cloud… I’ve never seen it with such a long tail that looks like a tornado, but given the windy/turbulent atmosphere… makes sense. 

Hole punch clouds or fallstreak clouds are formed in an altocumulus layer. What is believed to cause them is when a plane passes through that cloud layer. 

This clouds layer is made up of SUPERCOOLED water droplets. Basically, very small water droplets below freezing. When an airplane ‘punches’ through the clouds, it can trigger heavier ice crystals to develop and fall to the ground… and leave a hole in the cloud. 

It looks like as these ice crystals are falling, they aren’t evaporating like they normally would… but getting caught up in the wind and formed a rotation streak of falling ice crystals. 

Similar in the summer when a gust of wind can pick up dirt at a baseball field and spin it up in the air to make it look like a tornado… even though it isn’t…this is happening to the falling ice crystals. 

It does appear they do eventually evaporate at the bottom as the air is much drier at the surface.

It is a cool and rare thing to see…I’ve only seen a hole punch cloud a handful of times…but never like this."

Story and photos ➤

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey everyone...It's a jet contrail that caused the initial "hole" in the cloud layer, and then the contrail continued on...No mystery here.