LOOK: Spectacular wave-like clouds form in Virginia

Sometimes they’re called tsunami clouds

Weather Wise Guy - tsunami clouds

(Gray News) – Sometimes the sky looks like a work of art. Others might call it an example of God’s handiwork.

In either case, Amy Christie Hunter captured a beautiful picture of an extremely rare cloud formation this week over Smith Mountain Lake, about 30 miles southeast of Roanoke, Va.

“I realized it was very unusual and knew I just had to capture a photo of it! It was amazing to see in person!” Hunter said.

“It looked like waves crashing on the mountain! I think it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing to see clouds form like that. It was also a once-in-a-lifetime thing to capture it on camera.”

Very cool clouds rolling over Smith Mountain this evening. They are called Tsunami clouds. I sent the photo to our...

Posted by Amy Christie Hunter on Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The formation is known as a Kelvin-Helmholtz cloud.

“These ocean-wave-like clouds typically form when there are unstable conditions in the atmosphere,” WDBJ Meteorologist Ian Cassette said.

“They usually occur when there is a difference in wind speed between two layers of air. The upper layer of air is moving at higher speeds and will create the recognizable waves at the top of the clouds.”

Copyright 2019 Gray Television Group, Inc. All rights reserved.