With our next chance of precipitation about a week away it’s a bit tough to write a daily weather blog where I feel like I’m not just repeating myself day to day. Mother Nature though every so often will throw me a bone for a blog idea and yesterday she threw me a couple. Northern MO saw some fallstreak holes or hole punch clouds. Then there was a vivid sun pillar as the sun was setting that some saw and wondered what that was about. So today’s blog will dive in on both those occurrences.



Today: Sunshine this morning with mid day clouds moving through. Cold but not as cold with highs in the mid to upper 20s

Tonight: Fair and cold with lows in the teens

Tomorrow: Mostly sunny and not as cold…more seasonable with highs approaching 40°

Thursday: Mostly sunny and milder with highs near 50°



So let’s at least briefly touch on the weather as the day is featuring icy weather in Texas…and elsewhere

Winter storm warnings and ice storm warnings are in effect for many areas from the I-40 corridor southwards. Austin is shut down in large part for driving because of all the slick conditions. Arkansas is getting it pretty good as well with the potential of some convection mixing in as well and that will move up into western TN. Some getting freezing drizzle/rain…others getting pouring down sleet

There are wind chill advisories in effect across the northern Plains with wind chill values this morning starting in the -30° range or so. There is a -42° value in western NE

Via OK Mesonet

Thankfully while we are cold…and the coldest we’ve been since December 28th there isn’t much, if any wind this morning.

On the subject of cold…a record cold air mass is likely into the northeastern part of the country this weekend. It will come in fast and thankfully leave fast but it will be nasty as parts of northern Maine may see wind chills near -70°!

Look at some of these actual lows forecast up there for Saturday morning. Boston flirts with -10°

It will be gone though by Monday.

Meanwhile we’re staying rather tranquil with the exception of a bit of an up and down swing in temperatures from day to day around these parts.

Now about the weird skies in the area.

Yesterday on the visible satellite pictures I noticed circular holes in the cloud cover north of the Metro up towards and east of St Joseph.

Here is what I’m talking about…

See the holes…like little circles.

As this was happening I got this picture from Roger Hughes up towards Cameron, MO.

An excellent example of a fallstreak hole

Can you see the hole in the clouds…verifying what the satellite was showing.

So how did this ocur.

Well fallstreak holes of hole punch clouds are formed mostly because of planes. As you know those planes put out exhaust from the engines…initially and briefly it’s water vapor but it quickly changes to ice crystals with the planes flying at altitude where it it bitterly cold.

At the time there were two United Airline flights traveling through northern MO on a path near where those holes occurred.

Those ice crystals fall down through the atmosphere and go through that cloud layer. Those clouds are composed of super cooled water droplets. Droplets that aren’t frozen but yet in part of the atmosphere where the air is well below freezing. The super cooled water droplets freeze onto the ice crystals and get a bit bigger and fall towards the ground, often evaporating before they reach the ground. In a way it looks like little tufts falling out of the sky. The phenomena of all this happening is called the Bergeron Process

In the wake of the tufts of evaporating snowflakes…holes are left behind and the holes expand because of additional ice crystals merged with water droplets falling out of the atmosphere.

We had some of these in JOCO last week.

Next up in the weird things seen in the skies yesterday were the sun pillars as the sun was setting. These are more common and happen more often than you think. Sometimes with rising suns or setting suns.

I got a ton of pictures about this.

Vicki Anderson Dolt
Sheila Jackson

Do you see that vertical ray extending upwards…that is a sun pillar!

They form when the setting or rising sun reflects off of millions of ice crystals that are in the atmosphere slowly falling. Those ice crystals, as the fall are rocking back and forth. The sun’s light is reflecting off the ice crystals that are hexagonal in shape sort of like these…

So it was a fun day of watching the atmosphere yesterday…you just never know what you’re going to see out there from day to day sometimes.

The feature photo is from Ben…had the drone up in time to catch the sun pillar!