An Upper West Sider tweeted this photo on Thursday and it’s gone semi-viral.
Unsure of what she was seeing, @Timberdoodle20 asked the crowd for input. And input is what they gave.
While many jokesters took the opportunity to dish out quick wit – with guesses ranging from portals to other dimensions, extraterrestrial guests looking for our leader, or some kind of second coming – several users hypothesized this as a punch hole cloud or a fallstreak hole.
After a quick Google search, we discovered that these two terms are one and the same …
According to the National Weather Service:
“A fallstreak hole (also known as a “hole punch cloud”) is a large circular or elliptical gap that can appear in cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds.“High to mid level clouds, such as altocumulus, are often composed of tiny water droplets that are much colder than freezing, but have yet to freeze. These “supercooled” water droplets need a “reason” to freeze, which usually comes in the form of ice crystals. Planes passing through the cloud layer can bring these ice crystals.
“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 neighboring droplets start to freeze.”
According to StratusDeck, “Fallstreak holes are rather rare, as they are limited to very specific atmospheric conditions and geographical locations.”
Here’s the tweet:
INCOMING! Upper West Side in New York City right NOW! Can someone please explain this cloud formation??? pic.twitter.com/eHqxMNrr9Y
— Timberdoodle (@Timberdoodle20) December 15, 2021