Strange clouds in Cape Town – level 3

16-11-2015 15:00

Above the scenic cityscapes of Cape Town in South Africa, something odd is happening in the skies. As the clouds gather pace, panic ensues and people take to social media to show their fear.

There’s talk of tornadoes, UFOs and even aliens! But returning back to Earth for a moment, meteorologists are calling them “lenticular clouds”.

These are lens-shaped and typically stationary. They form when air flows along the surface of the earth and reaches some sort of obstruction point like a mountain. That then diverts the flow of moving air and because the airflow contains moist air within it, a series of large-scale standing waves can develop.

Then the alien-like shapes take form and when the moist air flows down to the back of the wave, the clouds eventually evaporate and vanish.

So next time you’re witness to a spectacle of the skies, it may be worth getting your phone out to record any unusual movements.

Difficult words: scenic (a beautiful outdoor view), cityscape (the appearance of a city), gather to (increase), pace (speed), ensue (to happen as a result of something), returning back to Earth (this is a pun—to talk about our planet Earth and to talk about something that is real), stationary (not moving), divert (to change the course of), moist (wet), vanish (to disappear), spectacle (something visually amazing).


Have you ever seen a cloud like this?


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