Breakdown: How a fallstreak cloud forms

Breakdown: How a fallstreak cloud forms

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Check out the image below: have you ever seen a cloud like this? It is sometimes mistaken as a flying saucer because of its unique shape. There are several names for this interesting cloud but meteorologist refer to it as a fallstreak cloud or punch cloud.

A fallstreak cloud has the appearance of a large space in a cloud that is usually round and can appear embedded within a cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds. These unique looking clouds are formed when the water temperature in these clouds are below freezing. Although the water is below its freezing point, it has not frozen yet (supercooled). Once ice crystals start to form, then even more crystals start to form. This is referred to as the Bergeron process.

The leftover droplets around the crystals will evaporate. This leaves a big round hole in the cloud.

Copyright 2018 WMC. All rights reserved.