Virga from altocumulus

Conventionally, virga is known as rain that dries up as it falls, beyond the density needed to be visible. They can also be falling ice crystals at high altitudes where temperatures are easily as cold as -12f at 20,000 feet, which are about the altitudes of these clouds. The falling of the crystal gives it a tail-like appearance under the cloud.

All that is required for virga to form are enough water molecules to gather in one spot of a cloud that they fall from the effects of their own density. The molecules disperse and are no longer seen as they fall since the rest of the huge sky is relatively dry. Virga is a less common cloud, but not rare outside the driest deserts, where even there the jet stream may bring them overhead any time of year.

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