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Rare wave-shaped clouds spotted in Virginia

The photo has gone viral

Viral photo: Amy Christie Hunter

ROANOKE, Va. – Have you ever seen anything like it? 

A woman in Virginia grabbed her phone when she saw a jaw-dropping cloud formation in the sky on Tuesday. The photo has been shared by news outlets around the U.S. 

Amy Christie Hunter said wave-shaped clouds were spotted rolling over Smith Mountain near Roanoke. 

"Very cool clouds rolling over Smith Mountain this evening," Hunter said. "They are called Tsunami clouds. I sent the photo to our local news station and the meteorologist replied to me saying they are very rare and usually not this defined." 

Hunter told WSLS that absolutely no edits were made on the picture, which only adds to how amazing this truly is.

The formation is known as the Kelvin-Helmholtz cloud, and is named after the scientist who studied the physics behind them, the station reports

"Kelvin-Helmholtz waves develop due to differing wind speeds in the atmosphere. Because the air is saturated at this level of the atmosphere, a cloud can form," WSLS reports. At the top of the wave, the air is moving faster than the air at the bottom of the wave. The differing wind speed and density of the air from top to bottom is what allows the cloud to billow over like an ocean wave."

(Photo taken by Amy Christie Hunter


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