The Jersey Shore sky did a passable imitation of the ocean beneath late Sunday, creating quite a celestial show.
An extraordinary meeting of conditions generated a cloud formation — rare around here — known as an undular bore, the National Weather Service reports.
Waves of rolling clouds stretched for 40 to 50 miles between 5 and 7 p.m., Alex Staarmann, a weather service meteorologist, said Monday.
After a week of volatile weather that turned the region into a poor man's version of the tropics, something like this was bound to happen.
Late Sunday, the weather service said a "gust front" out ahead of a line of the thunderstorms ran smack into chilly, stable air over the Atlantic, where sea-surface temperatures are still in the 50s.
The resulting collision created a ripple effect, said Staarmann, that is similar to what happens when one punches a calm pool of water.
In this case, the ripples were created in the atmosphere, which behaves like a fluid. In the video, you can see the undular bore show up like separating stripes on the outer edge of the cloud bank as it moved out to sea.
"A bore is kind of like a shallow water wave," Staarmann said.
Staarmann said he had seen these formations in his native South Carolina, but they are rare around here.