HAWAII ISLAND, Hawaii (KHON2) — Hawaiʻi Island is known for its beauty and its volcanoes.
Now, it is associated with strange clouds that were seen hovering over the island on Wednesday, March 8.
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Back in 2018, there were saucer shaped clouds over the Big Island.
And, just a few days ago, residents and visitors all over Hawai’i saw the strange lights above our skies.
Chevy Chevalier, KHON2 News weather expert weighed in on this strange occurrence.
Chevalier said that “they’re called lenticular clouds, and they are usually created downwind of a hill or mountain.”
The National Weather Service said that lenticular clouds are known by the scientific name altocumulus standing lenticularus.
These are strange looking cloud formations that occur as strong winds blow over and around rough terrain.
During some events from 2022, NWS said that “some people have mistaken them for UFOs due to their smooth saucer like shape. They are fairly common over the western half of the mainland due to the Rockies but relatively rare in Hawaii.”
NWS also pointed out that there were a couple of long-lasting lenticular clouds that formed over the Big Island on Nov. 25, 2022.
“During the early morning hours of Nov. 25, strong winds of 40 to 60 mph from the southwest developed at altitudes above 10,000 feet over the Big Island,” explained NWS.
NWS said that these clouds can be a sign to pilots that turbulence may be ahead.
“The upper portions of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea [both reaching heights of about 13,000 feet] forced these strong winds to flow over and around the peaks of the mountains, resulting in ‘waves’ in the atmosphere just downwind of both of the summits,” added NWS.
The NWS even created a cartoon schematic of how lenticular cloud form.
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You can see the wavelike path over the mountains as the air flows over it.