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Heavy Rainfall and Flash Flood Threats From the Lower Mississippi Valley Into Ohio/Tennessee Valleys; Elevated to Critical Fire Concerns Out West

Heavy to excessive rainfall with flash flood concerns will be possible from the Lower Mississippi Valley into parts of the Ohio/Tennessee Valleys. Elevated to Critical Fire weather threats will persist across the Great Basin and central Rockies. Finally, Major to Record river flooding will continue in portions of the Midwest and across parts of North and South Carolina. Read More >

Unusual Cloud Phenomena Seen in Central Wisconsin

 

During the afternoon of November 15, 2006, an unusual cloud formation was seen across central Wisconsin. Known as "hole punch clouds," the holes develop as ice crystals above the main cloud layer fall through the clouds, causing the super-cooled water droplets to evaporate. The result is a circular form void of clouds, with a mass of crystals in the center.

The photo below was taken by Samantha Weise in Stevens Point.
Hole punch cloud

The source of the ice crystals was exhaust from jets. Visible satellite imagery on November 15 (below) showed aircraft dissipation trails (distrails) above central and south-central Wisconsin. Particles in the aircraft exhaust acted as ice nuclei, causing the ice crystals to grow and then fall, creating the punch holes and streaks in the main cloud layer. 
Visible satellite image

The image below is a high resolution Aqua MODIS true color image centered on Madison, which clearly shows the northwest-southeast oriented distrails. Satellite images courtesy of the SSEC, University of Wisconsin.
MODIS imagery