Virga is rain that doesn’t reach the ground
We’ve all seen virga, but maybe not known what it’s called.
Virga is rain that evaporates before it hits the ground.
It often appears in streaks or shafts extending from the bottoms of clouds.
You often see virga over a desert, where low humidity and high temperatures can cause rain to evaporate shortly after being released by clouds. Or you might see virga at high altitudes; in fact, the precipitation often starts out in the form of ice crystals.
Virga is commonly seen in the U.S. West and above the Canadian Prairies, in the Middle East, Australia and North Africa.
The word virga is derived from Latin meaning “twig” or “branch”.
At some northerly latitudes, too – as in the photos from Sweden
on this page – virga sometimes paints the sky above.