Have you ever heard of virga? Let’s take a look at this “weird weather” and explain how it is developed.
Simply put, virga is precipitation that does not make it to the ground. The word ‘virga’ has Latin roots and means “twig” or “branch". This is fitting because as virga falls to the ground, it often looks like dark twigs or branches extending downward from a cloud’s base. If virga is present, it is most vibrant around sunrise or sunset. It’s dark streaks through the air can contrast well with the fiery-red sky at dusk or dawn.
These streaks or wisps of precipitation falling from a cloud are simply just evaporating before reaching the ground. In certain cases, shafts of virga may precede a microburst.
Meteorologist Brittney Merlot describes why and in what circumstances you have the best chances to see this phenomena.