What Were Those Weird Wavy Clouds in the Austin Area?

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KXAN reports that many people within their viewing area of Austin and the Texas Hill Country were treated to a rare sight of wavy clouds on Wednesday morning. These clouds went beyond a “normal” wavy pattern and entered into the what exactly am I looking at, should I be alarmed? territory.

The name for these types of clouds is “asperatus,” which translates to “agitated waves.” The news explains that they’re created by “ocean-like waves of air moving horizontally, meeting up with a deck of developing low clouds.” AccuWeather states that they’re no cause for alarm.

Interestingly, asperatus clouds didn’t have a name until a couple of years ago. In 2015, USA Today wrote that the International Cloud Atlas finally gave this formation a name. Since then, many photographs taken from surprised people have popped up on social media using the new title.

USA Today explains that the International Cloud Atlas separates clouds into 10 categories, within these categories are 14 species and 9 varieties within those species. “In addition to these first three levels, certain supplementary features and accessory clouds are also defined in a fourth level of description. It’s at this level that asperatus will appear,” they explain.