'Angelic' cloud spotted in the sky
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Some residents in South Florida believe a cloud photographed on the same day Pope Francis was elected is a religious symbol.
As white smoke poured from the Vatican and Pope Francis became leader of the Catholic church, a cloud formed over South Florida.
Residents like Diane Barnwell took out their cameras to capture what they believed was a message from God. "It made me feel like something is watching over us," said Barnwell.
Barnwell insists that the cloud is an angel sent from heaven.
Florida International University religious studies professor Dan Alvarez explained why some people see an angel in the photograph while others just see an ordinary cloud. "People of faith see things where other people who don't have faith simply don't see them," he said. "I've learned to respect that as a teacher of religion."
While some turn to their faith for an explanation, others look for a scientific answer in the cloud. "I see just a cloud," said WSVN Chief Meteorologist Phil Ferro.
Ferro said the "angel" is just a typical, standard upper-level cloud. "They're made out of tiny, little ice crystals, and you can usually find them about 4 to 8 miles high," he said.
The meteorologist went on to say that the angel's wings were formed by the wind. "If you look for an angel or divine intervention, you're going to need a higher authority than me to let you know what it is," said Ferro.
Several West Palm Beach residents took photos of the cloud and said the photos were not altered in any way.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)