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UFO watch over Mayo skies

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This picture, courtesy of Teresa Cowley, showed the strange cloud formations over Newport Bay last week.

UFO watch over Mayo skies



Anton McNulty

IT was nearly a case of calling Mulder and Scully last Friday evening as strange cloud formations appeared over west Mayo which would not be out of place on an episode of X-Files.
Fortunately, an invasion by another life-form was not being planned and instead it was a more innocent collection of Lenticular clouds, which are often mistaken for UFOs because of their unusual uniform surface and saucer-like shape. The clouds appeared over the skies of Mayo on Friday evening and their strange shape made for spectacular viewing, and much discussion.
“I never saw anything like them in the skies around Mayo before,” explained one man. “There was a good few of them in the sky and they looked like flying saucers, and they were not the usual cloud formations you get around here.”
These clouds are very unusual along the west coast and normally form at high altitudes of between 6,500 and 23,000 feet. The clouds form when a tall geographic feature, such as the  top of a mountain, interrupts a strong wind coming up the side. The interruption in airflow creates a wind wave pattern in the atmosphere on the downwind side of the mountain.
They require a climate with stable, moist fast-moving winds in order to create the necessary wave wind in the atmosphere. They may be triggered off by hills only a few hundred metres high, and may extend downwind for over 100km. It is understood the cloud formation started in the Connemara Mountain Range and travelled north along the west coast, before eventually evaporating.