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Cloud Streets over Lake Michigan
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Cloud Streets over Lake Michigan

December 30, 2008
This image, captured by the MODIS on the Aqua satellite on December 22, 2008 shows the southern part of Lake Michigan. Located on the western shores of this portion of the Lake is the city of Chicago.

Spread out over the lake are lines of clouds are called "cloud streets." These are caused when low-level winds moving between and over obstacles cause the clouds to line up into rows (much like streets) that match the direction of the winds. At the point where the clouds first form streets, they're very narrow and well-defined. But as they age, they lose their definition, and begin to spread out and rejoin each other into a larger cloud mass. On the eastern side of the Lake, it's hard to distinguish clouds from the snow on the ground!


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