Till next time, keep looking up..
HOUMA — Some people saw Jesus. Others blamed UFOs.
Harkening to the popular Journey song, a wheel in the sky appeared over Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes early Saturday morning, a seemingly perfect hole punched though the sheet of clouds blanketing the sky.
Locals who phoned and e-mailed the Daily Comet and The Courier this weekend about the strange cloud formation did agree on one thing: “It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen,” said Raceland resident Sandra Ledet, who shared some spectacular photos with the Daily Comet.
Shawn O’Neil, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Slidell, identified the phenomenon as a hole-punch cloud.
“They don’t occur all that often, and they are usually caused when an aircraft intersects altocumulus or cirrocumulus clouds,” he said.
Altocumulus are high-altitude clouds, usually white or gray in color, that occur in sheets or patches. Cirrocumulus also are high-altitude clouds made up of supercooled liquid water droplets and ice crystals.
An airplane passing through a mixed cloud layer while ascending or descending could disrupt the delicate coexistence between the ice crystals and the supercooled liquid water droplets, causing a hole to be punched in the sky like many residents saw Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.
Small-scale atmospheric movements, both up and down, caused by the jet stream, could cause a similar phenomenon.
Some seemed doubtful, when the phenomenon was explained to them, that something like a jet could cause the mystical “hole in the sky” they saw Saturday.
“My daughter called me and she said, ‘Mom, look at the sky,’ and I went back in, got my camera, and started snapping,” Ledet said. “It completely circled my house and then disappeared. It was too big, too round and too low to be caused by a jet.”
Annette Klingman of Houma said her husband called her and told her that there was a “strange thing outside,” and she should get her camera.
“I was in my pajamas, and I went outside and wondered what I was supposed to be looking for,” she said. “But then my son saw it, and it was so huge. It was awesome. It was beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Nikki Buskey can be reached at 857-2205 or firstname.lastname@example.org.