From my window: Fascinating Virga

From Wiki:


In meteorology, virga is an observable streak or shaft of precipitation that falls from a cloud but evaporates or sublimes before reaching the ground.  At high altitudes the precipitation falls mainly as ice crystals before melting and finally evaporating; this is often due to compressional heating, because the air pressure increases closer to the ground. It is very common in the desert and in temperate climates. In North America, it is commonly seen in the Western United States and the Canadian Prairies.

Virga can cause varying weather effects, because as rain is changed from liquid to vapor form, it removes heat from the air due to the high heat of vaporization of water. In some instances, these pockets of colder air can descend rapidly, creating a dry microburst which can be extremely hazardous to aviation. Conversely, precipitation evaporating at high altitude can compressionally heat as it falls, and result in a gusty downburst which may substantially and rapidly warm the surface temperature. This fairly rare phenomenon, a heat burst, also tends to be of exceedingly dry air.

Virga also has a role in seeding storm cells whereby small particles from one cloud are blown into neighboring supersaturated air and act as nucleation particles for the next thunderhead cloud to begin forming.[citation needed]

Virga can produce dramatic and beautiful scenes, especially during a red sunset. The red light can be caught by the streamers of falling precipitation, and winds may push the bottom ends of the virga so it falls at an angle, making the clouds appear to have commas attached.

The word virga is derived from Latin, twig or branch.

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Here is what I captured last Saturday, just before 6:00 PM.









13 responses to “From my window: Fascinating Virga

    • Oh, I have some sunset shots coming up, Lancer…unusual to get them, but there have been some excellent ‘cloudy’ sunsets of late. I’m running so behind, as I’ve been out the past few days, and have about 600 images to go through…to pick and choose, then process! Whew!!!

    • When I was a little girl, quite small, I became fascinated with the ever-changing sky and especially storms, Leanne. I have photographed a tornado’s funnel forming about 400 feet above me, and have predicted bed weather in my locale for years…I can just ‘feel’ it coming! So the virga is quite great to capture, and I love watching it as it moves across the skies and eventually dissaptes!

      • I love weather, there is something about nature that is so amazing. We don’t get tornadoes here, so I will never get a chance to photograph one, but I am very jealous you right now.

      • Don’t be…and I’m very happy to NOT be in our state of Oklahoma right now…over 50 died from yesterday’s HUGE tornado, over twenty of them children in school at that hour! Such a tragedy! I’ve seen a few pics of some of these kids getting rescued, after being ‘dug out’ of the amazing rubble…it tore at my heart!

      • Definitely! All the money in the world could not have prevented that destruction and death…it’s truly sad, as our government is so slipshod, they haven’t even declared a state of emergency in Oklahoma!

      • Was it just the one, it sounded like it was a huge one. I couldn’t live in a area where that could happen. I would hate to lose my home time and time again.

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