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Clouds Streets & How They Form

Did you see these clouds over the CSRA this morning? Here’s the science on how they form.
Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 10:02 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 28, 2022 at 10:47 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - CSRA residents woke up to a treat in the sky this morning as clouds streets formed over the region.

Neely Busbee - Aiken Tech 3/28/22
Neely Busbee - Aiken Tech 3/28/22(WRDW)

According to the National Weather Service, “cloud streets are rows of cumulus or cumulus-type clouds aligned parallel to the low-level flow. Cloud streets sometimes can be seen from the ground, but are seen best on satellite photographs.”

Graphic From NOAA
Graphic From NOAA(NOAA)

Cloud streets are horizontal convective rolls with rising warm air and sinking cool air. As the warm air rises, it condenses into a cloud. When the cool air sinks, it evaporates and creates the clear skies between clouds. When these horizontal convective rolls orient with the wind then cloud streets develop. The Appalachian Mountains can also help develop these clouds. When the low level flow is perpendicular to the mountains, air is compressed and expanded on the leeward side. This can create convective rolls which then develop clouds streets. Our low level flow was out of the northwest, which can lead to this phenomena.

The National Weather Service in Columbia said our clouds today were, “most likely altocumulus clouds. They probably would fall under the classification of cloud streets”. Alto clouds are in the mid-levels of the atmosphere between 6,000 - 20,000 feet. Cumulus means the cloud was developed vertically, usually through convective elements.

Picture taken by James Bazzell
Picture taken by James Bazzell(WRDW)
Picture taken by Celandria Weaver
Picture taken by Celandria Weaver(WRDW)
Clouds streets were illuminated by the rising sun early Monday morning.

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