Thunderstorm Cloud Features Explained

Thunderstorm Cloud Features
Thunderstorm Cloud Features

The cycle of billowing and blossoming clouds blowing up each day is just a part of life on the Gulf Coast. It’s the water cycle in action. It’s easier to notice in time-lapse video.

Look for things like updrafts- the sudden upward motion of new cloud cells. New cells are crisp like cauliflower. As they age they get soft. From tall towers of cumulus clouds you’ll often see a shaft of rain.Cumulonimbus clouds are typically made of a bunch of cells. The taller they are, the colder the air is up high that they can send down to the ground.

The brightness of the cloud and rain shaft depends on whether the sun is behind you as you look at it, or whether the sun is hidden behind the cloud. Early mornings and late afternoons produce rainbows as the sun shines into the water droplets. After warm, rising air builds a thunderstorm, rain falls, and eventually the thunderstorms starts collapsing. As it does so thunderstorms send a pool of cooler air down to the ground that spreads outward along the ground, known as a gust front, and that often produces a shelf cloud. That is the band of dark ominous clouds that rushes away from a storm, where you first notice the cooler air and higher humidity.

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