Virga at Sunset

October 19, 2013

Virga_Hungary2013_09_04_pan_2 (2)

Photographer: Rafael Schmall; Rafael's Web site
Summary Author: Rafael Schmall; Jim Foster

The photo above showing virga falling from weakly developed cumulus clouds (or possibly from altocumulus clouds) was snapped at sunset over Kaposfo, Hungary on September 4, 2013. It appears that these clouds reached saturation and simply emptied their load. Because of the relatively low humidity of the air most of this precipitation evaporated before reaching the surface. Often ice crystals or snow may be observed to fall, even on a summer's day, rather than raindrops. Ice and snow are more reflective and thus easier to detect. The falling ice crystals that don't sublimate soon melt and continue falling as liquid drops. Even though we don't actually see the precipitation making it all of the way to the surface here, it's likely that at least a few drops wetted the ground.