GREENSBORO, NC -- Billy Payne, a loyal WFMY News 2 viewer, sent Chief Meteorologist Grant Gilmore a picture of clouds at sunrise and wanted to know what they were called and how they formed.
The attached video shows the clouds in question, but the simple answer is that the clouds that Billy Payne was asking about were a form of a wave cloud.
Wave clouds can develop through a number of processes, but most frequently the Triad sees wave clouds that are generated as a result of air passing over the mountains. If conditions are correct as the air flows over the mountains it can initiate a ripple-like effect in the atmosphere. As the air is forced upward, over the mountain, water vapor in the air condenses and forms a cloud. The 'ripple' then forces the air down causing the water droplets/cloud to evaporate. This process can repeat numerous times as the 'ripple' propagates away from the initiation point (i.e. the mountains).