DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado is usually a very dry state and that allows it to see a neat weather phenomenon called “virga.”
In the simplest sense, Virga is rain that evaporates before it reaches the ground.
When rain falls from clouds, it is coming from a portion of the atmosphere that is completely saturated, meaning close to 100% relative humidity. However, in the Midwest and specifically the Eastern Plains of Colorado, the relative humidity at the ground can be a lot lower than the clouds above.
As the rain falls through the drier air, it actually evaporates before hitting the ground. So while a shower might be seen on the radar, it may not actually be reaching the ground.
Virga looks like a thin sheet of rain that dissipates and gets lighter closer to the ground. It’s usually wispy looking at the bottom of the rain shaft. Virga is most common with light rain showers.