Virga and Rays

January 02, 2004


Provided and copyright by: Peg Staudenmaier
Summary authors & editors: Peg Staudenmaier

The above photo shows a picturesque summer shower, captured last July about 80 miles or 128 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. This veil of precipitation actually evaporated before it reached the ground and is called virga. Also note the rays from the Sun (crepuscular rays), which appear to be escaping the heavy layer of altocumulus clouds, slanting in the opposite direction from the rain shaft. The weather on this day was typical of what we experienced while vacationing near the town of Blufton, Alberta on July 1 (Canada Day). We were rewarded again, about half an hour after this picture was taken, with a delicate rainbow over the surrounding fields, all without having the holiday picnic rained out!

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