YOUR PHOTOS: Summer storms bring shelf clouds to Metro Atlanta

Shelf clouds often form along the leading edge of heavy rain and gusty winds.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms rolled through the heart of Downtown and Midtown Atlanta Monday afternoon, producing this ominous looking feature over the city:

The lower cloud is known as an arcus clouds, or more commonly, a shelf cloud, and it is associated with both severe and non-severe thunderstorms. They often form in the summertime, though they can be spotted anytime of the year when storms form.

The World Meteorological Organization’s International Cloud Atlas defines an arcus, or shelf cloud, as “a dense horizontal roll with more or less tattered edges, situated on the lower front part of certain clouds and having, when extensive, the appearance of a dark, menacing arch.”

Shelf clouds form when the leading edge of rain-cooled air shoves warmer, humid air higher into the sky. Occasionally, wall clouds (precursors to tornadoes) can be found within a shelf cloud, but for the most part, shelf clouds indicate the possibility of gusty winds as well as very heavy rain.

If you see a shelf cloud heading your way, it’s your clue that you have about 5 to 10 minutes to head inside before heavy rain and gusty winds arrive!

Share Your Summer Storm Photos with Me!

Facebook: Christina Edwards WSB

Twitter: @ChristinaWSBwx

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