Pink UFO-looking 'candy floss clouds' over Aotearoa

Lenticular clouds near Aoraki Mt Cook. File photo: imgur.com/user/goatsbekidding
Lenticular clouds near Aoraki Mt Cook. File photo: imgur.com/user/goatsbekidding
Some parts of New Zealand were treated to a jaw-dropping sight yesterday as a cold southerly worked its way up the country.

No, it wasn't snow - but rather strange-looking UFO-like clouds, known as lenticular clouds.

The lens-shaped wave clouds form when the air is stable and wind blows across hills or mountains from the same direction at different heights.

WeatherWatch.co.nz says fading southerly conditions and cooling temperatures yesterday evening helped produce the clouds, which dumbfounded some locals.

Lenticular clouds are common over parts of Canterbury due to the Southern Alps and nor'westers connecting together.

The lenticular cloud over Bay of Plenty last night:

In 2016, a lenticular cloud sparked panic in Northland after it was mistaken for an "alien spaceship trying to enter the atmosphere."

Hovering off Ruakaka Beach, the oval cloud was a pink colour, and initially, locals believed it was the ship's red-hot hull.

At the time, MetService meteorologist Lisa Murray said the clouds were often associated with spaceships because of their smooth edges.

There needs to be enough moisture in the air for the wind to make sure the waves condense to form lenticular clouds, Murray said.

The lenticular cloud in 2016 over NZ. Photo: NZH File
The lenticular cloud in 2016 over NZ. Photo: NZH File

 

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