‘Hole punch cloud’ spotted in Central Texas

Weather Blog

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Some KXAN viewers were quick to reach out to the First Warning Weather team, curious to know what caused the mysterious looking hole in the sky this afternoon?

COURTESY: Linda Irgens | Horseshoe Bay

What is it?

A ‘hole punch cloud’ (or “fallstreak”) are circular gaps in altocummulus or cirrocumulus clouds. These mid- to high-level clouds are composed of “supercooled” water droplets, or liquid droplets much colder than freezing but have yet to actually freeze. What’s missing? Ice crystals.

Planes moving through these clouds leave behind tiny ice crystals. Once these supercooled droplets have something to “cling” to, the droplets freeze, grow and fall, leaving behind a hole in the cloud layer. The hole continues to grow as neighboring droplets begin to freeze.

A natural, harmless and normal weather phenomena… but a sure treat to see in person.

COURTESY: Deloris Stevenson | Leander
COURTESY: Mike Stein | Horseshoe Bay

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