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Strange sightings in skies above Shrewsbury

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Casting her eyes skyward a Shrewsbury woman spotted this rare cloud formation while out walking on Wednesday afternoon.

Bryony McCarry was making her way along the street in Ditherington when she saw what meteorologists call a holepunch cloud - or fallstreak hole.

To her it looked like a jogger making his way across the sky so she grabbed her phone and took a quick photo.

Bryony said: "I was out on Wednesday afternoon and just spotted the cloud so I took a picture. When I got home I researched it a bit and found out that it is quite rare.

"I like looking at the clouds and this one caught my eye. As it moved across the sky I thought it looked a bit like a jogger and was quite cute."

The rare cloud is made when part of the cloud layer forms ice crystals which are large enough to fall as a 'fallstreak'.

They form in clouds of supercooled water droplets, water below 0 °C but not yet frozen. These water droplets need a tiny particle, a nucleus, to freeze or to be cooled below -40 °C.

Aircraft punching through this cloud layer can cause air to expand and cool as it passes over the aircraft wings or propeller. This change in temperature can be enough to encourage the supercooled droplets to freeze and fall from the cloud layer in this distinctive pattern.

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Once the ice crystals are introduced, the water droplet quickly freeze, grow and start to fall. A hole is left behind, which will start to expand outward as neighbouring droplets start to freeze.

Clouds of this type are very rare and, because of their unusual appearance, they have been mistaken as UFOs.

They have been seen recently in Romania, Moscow, Malta, America and Australia.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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