Hole punch cloud seen over Gulfport

Hole punch cloud seen over Gulfport

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - A hole appeared in the clouds on Tuesday morning over the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This rare cloud phenomenon is known as a hole punch cloud.

It has other names; sometimes this cloud formation is called a fallstreak hole, a punch hole cloud, or even a skypunch.

So, what caused the clouds to look like someone punched a hole in them? Airplanes are the culprit, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

An article published by NASA goes on to describe the formation process as such:

"Picture a layer of supercooled liquid water clouds stretching across the sky, like a sheet, in subfreezing temperatures. An airliner gaining altitude punches through the cloud layer, and leaves behind a void as if by a circular cookie-cutter. In some cases, the shape left behind is more ragged, or even more rectangular or canal-like. But the nearly perfect circle often makes for the most compelling sight in the sky. The ice particles grow at the expense of the supercooled water droplets and fall out of the cloud as snow. If the cloud layer is thin or if the water is not replenished the snow leaves a hole in the cloud."

"It was very cool to watch," said WLOX First Alert Meteorologist Wesley Williams. "We have been getting many photos from our viewers of the remarkable sight. And thankfully, it's just something that looks cool and does not imply any sort of bad weather."

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