Rain disappears in mid-air


Image: NWS San Diego

When precipitation occurs, we expect to see and feel it on the ground. However, not all precipitation reaches the ground, and when this happens, we call it virga.

In August 2015, Jason Martinez from News 10 reported on virga in San Diego. Countless others have taken to social media to share rain that disappears as it falls to the ground. Of course, rain doesn't just disappear, it evaporates, and what we are witnessing is the mid-air evaporation of rain. This phenomenon can serve as an interesting entry-point into the water cycle and local weather.

What causes rain? Where does the rain go if it doesn't hit the ground? Why does virga happen sometimes but not others?


San Diego Union-Tribune, Rain falls on a sunny day

San Diego CBS 8, Matt's MicroClimate Definitions

Earth and Space Science

More Activities & Resources:

How does hail stay suspended in the air?
Use hot air balloons to explore weather patterns and properties of air.
For a number of years, a San Diego company in Mission Bay provided rides on a water-powered jetpack.

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