Veil of Virga Over Great Salt Lake

October 04, 2011

Gslset428_8july11 (2)

Photographer: Ray Boren
Summary Author: Ray Boren

October 2011 Earth Science Picture of the Day Viewer's ChoiceThe photo above showing a veil of virga over the Great Salt Lake, was taken from Bountiful, Utah on July 8, 2011. Virga is precipitation that mostly evaporates before reaching the surface. The Sun on this early July day was setting beyond Great Salt Lake, coloring monsoon-generated clouds. In midsummer, but usually a bit later than when this photo was captured, a high-pressure zone sets up over the Four Corners area (New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah) pumping moisture northward. This is referred to as monsoon weather. Clouds tend to build during the heating of the day, fomenting weather that can range from very dangerous flashfloods to the less troubling virga wisps shown here. If the moisture-bearing clouds are hefty enough, however, rain can fall at any time of day or night, and post-midnight thunderstorms are not uncommon.