Merry Christmas clouds

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier
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Brier Island get special Christmas greeting

Danny Gaudet was up and outside earlier than most people Christmas morning and was rewarded for it.

The Westport resident looks after lobster pounds for DB Kenney on Brier Island. He was headed down to the plant to check on them Christmas morning about 6 a.m. but came right back for his wife’s camera.

“I got to show you something,” Gaudet told his wife Julia when he got home. “I don’t understand what kind of clouds these are.”

He had driven down the front street in Westport to Southern Point and had taken about 35 pictures in all.

The photos show a cloud formation rolling across the sky with rays of light from the sunrise shooting out of the wave crests.

“He said the colours were changing from bright and then fading to dark,” says Julia. “He’d never seen anything like it. Everyone who saw it had the same reaction.”

People posted on Facebook about the clouds in Weymouth, Weaver Settlement, in Yarmouth County and on the south shore.

“It seems like they were everywhere for everyone to enjoy on Christmas morning,” says Julia. “Of all the mornings for this to happen, I can’t help think it was a special appearance for Christmas, like Santa Claus planned this for us all.”

Julia got right on her computer to google the clouds and found out the clouds are called “Kelvin-Helmholtz” clouds after two scientists who worked on the theory of instability in fluids. The clouds are also known as billow clouds or shear-gravity clouds.

Two layers of air moving at different speeds cause the wave formation to appear. They are a common sight from underneath where they may appear as parallel bands of clouds, but it is rare to see them from the side as Gaudet did.

Geographic location: Westport, Brier Island, Southern Point Weymouth Yarmouth County

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