Wave clouds invade Panama Beach City

February 14, 2012 | Environment
Fog waves: surfing is not possible | Photo: JR Hott

Last week, remarkable images of wave clouds were captured by a helicopter pilot as they rolled off the sea and inland, completely engulfing buildings in Panama Beach City.

JR Hott of Panhandle Helicopter spotted the remarkable clouds, which look like waves cresting over the tall condominiums facing out onto the Gulf of Mexico.

According to Dr, Greg Forbes, of Weather.com, the phenomenon occurred as a result of warm, moist air forming "just right" as it blew into the coastline to create a low-lying fog that dissipates as the air cools with altitude.

Meteorologist Dan Satterfield also explains this occurrence on his blog. "Cool air offshore was very nearly at the saturation point, with a temperature near 20ºC and a dew point of about 19.5ºC."

"The air at this temperature can only hold a certain amount of water vapor, and how much it can hold depends heavily on the temperature. If you add more water into the air, a cloud will form, but you can also get a cloud to form by cooling the air. Drop the temperature, and it can no long hold as much water vapor, so some of it will condense out and a cloud will form".

Source: Surfrider

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