The Ominous Shelf Cloud - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

The Ominous Shelf Cloud

Clouds come in many different shapes and sizes with different names attached to each type of cloud. Some clouds can be friendly while others can look very ominous. An example of an ominous looking cloud is a shelf cloud.

The cloud looks just as the name describes it, but it's not a cloud that you can see every day. Shelf clouds can typically be found on the leading edge of a line of thunderstorms. This cloud forms simply as a boundary between a downdraft and an updraft of air.

The downdraft comes in the form of sinking, rain cooled air, and spreads horizontally once it reaches the surface. As the leading edge of the cool, sinking air advances, warm and moist air is then lifted along cooler air. Once the moist air lifts to a certain point, it follows the typical program of a rising air parcel, and condenses into a cloud.

If you're caught in the path of a shelf cloud, you can expect gusty winds, heavy rain fall, and possibly even hail.

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