LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Have you ever seen rain showing up on the radar, but then you look outside and there is actually nothing falling from the sky?
That’s a typical case of virga.
Normally when there’s precipitation, the air that sits under the base of the cloud is saturated, meaning that the air now holds as much water vapor as it can, based on the temperatures and air pressure outside.
So, when we have precipitation, those raindrops can reach the ground.
With virga, there’s a layer of dry air that sets up under the cloud base.
So as the raindrops fall throughout the atmosphere and come in contact with that dry air, the raindrops evaporate before they can even reach the surface.
Even though you might not have known what virga is, you might have already seen it occurring in the distance.
Currently, mid-Michigan is in the season where virga normally occurs.
The reason virga is so prevalent is because we have spring-like rain showers that are becoming more common in the area, but we also have a lingering dry winter air mass in place.