« Sunday Night Severe Thunderstorm Watch | Main | Late Monday, Early Tuesday Storm Potential »


Sunday Shelf Clouds

Did you see these intense-looking storm clouds Sunday? This is called a shelf cloud, and Sunday we saw this cloud as it was weakening.  If you see this as a storm is strengthening, it can be a little scary! 


What is a shelf cloud? You are basically seeing the innards of a thunderstorm at work.  Inside a storm is an updraft - warm, moist air moving up into the storm - and a downdraft - cooler air moving down toward the ground.  


A shelf cloud happens when the cooler air from the downdraft hits the ground and spreads out.  Imagine dumping a bucket of water onto the ground; the water flows out in all directions.  Something similar happens with the cooler downdraft air.  The shelf cloud happens when that cooler air flows under the warm, moist air getting pulled up into the storm by the updraft.  That interaction causes condensation and the cloud forms! 


You can always send your weather pictures to me using the links below. Thanks to everyone who submitted pictures, videos, and weather reports through Sunday's storms! 

Hannah's Facebook Page

Hannah's Twitter Page

-Hannah Strong



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.