How These Rare Cloud Waves Were Formed


We all love to sit, relax and admire the sky. Well, one woman in Virginia had no clue her quiet and relaxing evening would go viral.

Amy Christie Hunter snapped this photo with her iPhone and it’s since gone viral.

Photo Courtesy of April Christie Hunter

It was taken near Roanoke, Virginia last Tuesday at 8:30 in the evening. These clouds are called Kelvin Helmholtz waves and they’re certainly picturesque every time they form.

They form when the tops of the clouds are warmer than the bottom of the clouds and there also happens to be vertical wind shear. That’s differing wind speeds with height. The warmer, less dense air is faster in ths case and creates friction on the tops of the clouds. This makes the clouds start to billow and create that wave formation. It makes them look much like an ocean wave crashing.

These clouds can firm anywhere. If you see them, they’re also a sign of rough air and would make for a little turbulnce if you were flying over them.

Because this has gone so viral, you can now buy this image or have it screen printed on home decor, stationary or even beach towels. The photographer is now working with a company to sell her now-famous art.

You can see her work here:

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