Gallery 3 - Earth Bound   >   Clouds   >   Virga

Virga are streaky clouds that appear to be raining down but evaporation prevents it from reaching the ground. This often happens in the desert like here in New Mexico. Since rain is changed from liquid to vapor form, it removes heat from the air due to the high heat of vaporization of water. Sometimes these pockets of colder air can descend rapidly, creating a dry microburst which can be extremely hazardous to aviation. Photo by Debra