A strange weather phenomenon gripped the southern half of Michigan recently with people posting pictures all over social media - what were those "holes" in the clouds?

Courtesy of Andrea Giambruno via Facebook/Rainbows Over Michigan

According to Mid-Michigan Now Meteorologist Ahmad Baijey, they're called Fallstreak holes, or hole-punch clouds.

 

Did you see what looked like holes in the clouds earlier?
Those are called Fallstreak holes, also called a hole-punch...

Posted by Meteorologist Ahmad Bajjey on Friday, November 20, 2020

High to mid level clouds, such as altocumulus, are often composed of tiny water droplets that are much colder than freezing, but have yet to freeze. These "supercooled" water droplets need a "reason" to freeze, which usually comes in the form of ice crystals. Planes passing through the cloud layer can bring these ice crystals.

Once the ice crystals are introduced, the water droplet quickly freeze, grow and start to fall. A hole is left behind, which will start to expand outward as neighboring droplets start to freeze.

Other social media users even caught rainbows forming inside the holes.

courtesy of Jessica Eastman via Facebook/Rainbows Over Michigan
Courtesy of Michele Fantauzzi Haapala via Facebook/Rainbows Over Michigan
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