HANSVILLE, Wash. -- The warm day and the cool Puget Sound waters combined to make a rather interesting sight on Whidbey Island Saturday afternoon -- what looked like homes suddenly stacked upon each other.
A new home development strategy? Nope, just a mirage.
Greg Johnson with SkunkBayWeather.com noticed the phenomenon on his web camera and while this actually happens fairly often on sunny, summer days, he says this one was the starkest examples he's seen.
"This is a photo of Bush Point on Whidbey Island which is approximately 8 miles away," Johnson wrote on his Facebook page "If you look closely, the houses are stacked on top of each other with a little sea in between. A large majority of those homes are single story. It really is a pretty remarkable phenomenon."
These are called Fata Morgana mirages -- the cool water chills the air just above the water's surface. Meanwhile, you still have warmer air above that. Difference in air temperature will affect the density of the air, and when light will bend a bit when it passes through air of changing density. Sometimes when you get really complex temperature patterns, you can get complex images as a result as was the case here.