NATURE: Rare 'cloud waterfall' caught on camera

Tourists in southern China were recently treated to a rare weather spectacle.

This rare and beautiful scene presented itself in southern China earlier this month, when an ethereal waterfall of clouds was spotted flowing down a mountainside in the city of Yichun.

According to The Weather Network reporter Kyle Brittian, cloud waterfalls only happen under a particular set of conditions.

"Cloud waterfalls typically develop during clear weather that immediately follows heavy rain or snow, which moistens the lower atmosphere," he explains.

"The shape of the terrain is also important. Cloud waterfalls often occur over mountain slopes that surround an elevated plateau."

In these environments, clear skies allow the air to cool until the moist air is saturated, allowing a "sea of clouds" to form.

"Finally, the cooler, more dense air atop the plateau must build to a point that it can spill over the mountain crest, which then flows downhill as a result of the force of gravity," Brittain says.

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"Prior to evaporating on its way down the mountain, the cloud gives viewers near the mountain crest a spectacular show that resembles a waterfall."

What a wonderful world.