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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 6:00 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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Chico
Overcast
57° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 57°
Oroville
Overcast
57° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 57°
Paradise
Overcast
57° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 57°
Chester
Broken Clouds
43° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 37°
Red Bluff
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 55°
Willows
Overcast
57° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 57°
The last two days saw quite a bit of rain in Northern California. Today we could see more but the showers look to be more isolated today than in previous days. Highs today are expected to reach the upper 50s to lower 60s.
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