Cloud Streets in the Atlantic Ocean

A cool feature of strong cold fronts as they move over open water is the large area of cloud streets they can leave behind. As the cold, dry air interacts with the warmer ocean water, it creates narrow bands of convection (rising and sinking air) parallel to the direction of the wind. If conditions are right, these narrow bands of convection sometimes appear in the form of long, thin rows of cumulus clouds known as "horizontal convective rolls," or cloud streets.

The above image was taken on March 11, 2014, just after the heavy snowfall that impacted much of the Great Lakes and northeastern United States (snow is seen covering much of the ground). Those same cloud streets over the Atlantic are still present today, as witnessed by the below satellite image taken at 115PM EDT, just 30 minutes prior to this post.

Cloud Streets in the Atlantic Ocean

[Images via MODIS and MSFC]