Ask Storm Team 11: What is a virga?

Weather

Today’s Ask Storm Team 11 questions is what is a virga?

Many viewers have sent us photos of this phenomenon from last week. What we are looking at is rain not making it to the ground.

A virga looks like streaks of precipitation falling from a cloud. But this precipitation evaporates before making it to the ground.

Remember, the atmosphere is made up of layers and layers, and not every layer will always be the same. What is happening here is there is a dry layer in the atmosphere. This is allowing for the rain to evaporate before it even makes it to the ground! If the atmosphere is saturated throughout the layers from the clouds to ground, the rain will make it. In this case, dry air won and was able to stop the rain from continuing. 

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