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A rare horseshoe cloud was spotted over Battle Mountain, Nevada on Friday and folks on Twitter are having a hard time believing our extraterrestrial friends had nothing to do with it.
The National Weather Service shared photos of the phenomenon, captured by “eagle-eye” Christy Grimes. The tweet said the horseshoe cloud formation is one of the rarest cloud formations ever.
Also called mustache clouds, horseshoe clouds form when there is a lot of vorticity (a measure of rotation) in the air, according to Weather Scapes. The clouds form when a small cumulus updraft interacts with the surrounding air and forms a dipole vortex. They’re most common during supercell storms, when winds rush in to feed the storm. Conditions are rarely perfect for this kind of cloud formation—and when they do form, it’s usually short-lived.
(1/2) Hi Stephanie here's the explanation on how these clouds are formed. As the updraft pushes flattish cumulus clouds up & a horizontal vortex develops from differential updraft speeds... https://t.co/rLTZLG5dYR— NWS Elko (@NWSElko) March 9, 2018
(2/2) As the vortex climbs, it's caught in the faster horizontal winds aloft,& the middle part of the vortex catches the faster speeds with the ends being slower. Hope this helps! https://t.co/rLTZLG5dYR— NWS Elko (@NWSElko) March 9, 2018
Q: What is even happening?!— Mika McKinnon (@mikamckinnon) March 9, 2018
A: Horseshoe clouds are partially-visible vortices. An updraft hit a sheer layer, getting knocked into a spin & flattened.
Oversimplifucation: It's a very weak & sideways cousin of a waterspout or tornado, a quickly-dissipating shred of cloud. pic.twitter.com/S9pWeqrc2y
Still, people don’t see these types of clouds very often. So, obviously, the internet had to jump at the chance to meme this cloud.
Horseshoe?? I know a staple when I see one, son. https://t.co/tMMv4r2XxB— what is dog?? (@semisponge) March 10, 2018
Pretty sure that’s a floating mustache https://t.co/5P4bHXc5Av— Bekah (@ShmeckaBeks) March 10, 2018
Even the clouds have septum piercings, sweet https://t.co/IR3OVF6rWp— -Trash Queen (@JayKneeDeep) March 10, 2018
Hulk stopped in Nevada on his way to Clearwater https://t.co/Xztu2KvsOh— p h i x a t e d (@Phixated) March 10, 2018
While some chose to make jokes about the shape of the cloud, others put on their thinking caps and questioned if the cloud really appeared because of weather, or if aliens were actually behind the anomaly.
@mirikramer miriam i am NOT saying aliens but— darth™ (@darth) March 9, 2018
That's literally a UFO exhaust port. Don't lie to me. https://t.co/4IrVB7baBs— Governor of the Great State of Confusion (@Julianmunoz) March 10, 2018
You mean “Area 51” Nevada? Well humans, we had a nice run. https://t.co/Q1XYAnXrX3— MichaelMufasa (@MichaelMufasa) March 10, 2018
1. This is a fucking spaceship. 2. Anytime this happens experts say its 'rare'.— Randolph Jr (@RC_JR1027) March 10, 2018
“A rare horseshoe cloud is captured on camera”https://t.co/0teQhlBM7l
Horseshoe cloud my arse, I know aliens when I see them. If you'll excuse me I'll be in my safety bunker. https://t.co/rtyq54Cvaj— PigLoverDavidCameron (@Owendaspoon) March 10, 2018
Aliens or not, horseshoes have been historically seen as symbols of good luck. Sounds like good news for the state of Nevada.
Tess Cagle is a reporter who focuses on politics, lifestyle, and streaming entertainment. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Texas Monthly, the Austin American-Statesman, Damn Joan, and Community Impact Newspaper. She’s also a portrait, events, and live music photographer in Central Texas.