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Fri May 17, 2019, 12:36 PM

Haunting 'mothership' shelf clouds sweep through Wisconsin along intense storm complex (Photos)

Capital Weather Gang
Haunting ‘mothership’ shelf clouds sweep through Wisconsin along intense storm complex (Photos)



Shelf cloud photographed in Onalaska, Wis., May 16. (Kyle Nyman via Twitter)

By Jason Samenow
May 16 at 11:33 AM

As a vigorous complex of thunderstorms barreled southeast through central and southern Wisconsin Thursday morning, it was fronted by a menacing, wicked-looking cloud formation.

The dark, protruding, multilayered clouds were known as shelf clouds or “shelfies,” common in thunderstorms.

Some of the best examples came from Madison, where the storms swept through between 8:30 and 9 a.m. local time. The storms in the state’s capital had more bark than bite — producing just brief downpours and wind gusts to around 30 mph.

Storm approaching the @UWMadison campus. Photo taken from the top of the @UWCIMSS @UWSSEC and @UW_AOS building.



Shelf clouds form from cold air or outflow racing out ahead of the storm, which sinks and clashes with warm, moist air feeding into it. The humid air rises quickly through this cold layer and condenses into a horizontal cloud resembling a shelf. Sometimes, this happens in multiple layers resulting in a stunning shelf deck resembling a massive flying saucer or “mothership.”



Beautiful 😍 @NWSMKX @uwhealth #wiwx



As a shelf cloud arrives, there is usually a sudden burst of heavy rain and strong winds. Then the intensity of the storm tends to ease.
....

See more stunning views of the shelf clouds associated with these storms below...

Mother Nature is just showing off today! 😱

#Madison // #LakeMendota



Great shot of a shelf cloud in advance of thunderstorms this morning. Taken in the Town of Medary, WI.
Thanks to Curtis Bisek for the photo.
#wiwx #ShelfCloud



{snip}



Shelf cloud seen from roof of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences building at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. (UW-Madison SSEC/AOS)
....

Jason Samenow is The Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association. Follow https://twitter.com/capitalweather

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Reply Haunting 'mothership' shelf clouds sweep through Wisconsin along intense storm complex (Photos) (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves May 2019 OP
Leghorn21 May 2019 #1
htuttle May 2019 #2
Leghorn21 May 2019 #4
htuttle May 2019 #5
qazplm135 May 2019 #3
BigmanPigman May 2019 #6

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri May 17, 2019, 12:48 PM

1. IS THIS REAL LIFE??!?!

WOW, many thanks for posting, sending these around WOW

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Response to Leghorn21 (Reply #1)

Fri May 17, 2019, 01:10 PM

2. Saw it with my own eyes

It was pretty amazing.

Then it was really wet.

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Response to htuttle (Reply #2)

Fri May 17, 2019, 01:41 PM

4. Ah, but it was worth a good dousing, amirite?!

I’m too too jealous, h!!

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Response to Leghorn21 (Reply #4)

Fri May 17, 2019, 01:42 PM

5. It was worth it at first, lol


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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri May 17, 2019, 01:14 PM

3. I, for one,

welcome our participation overlords.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri May 17, 2019, 02:29 PM

6. I have never seen anything like this!

VERY COOL!

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