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CORDERO'S CORNER: Shelf Clouds and Where to find them?

Shelf Cloud Formation
CORDERO'S CORNER: Shelf Clouds and Where to find them?
Posted at 7:00 AM, Jan 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-26 06:43:50-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fl. (WTXL) -- Every Tuesday on WTXL Sunrise, you'll be able to have one of your own weather questions answered by Meteorologist Alex Cordero.

This week, our question was sent via Facebook in a video by Paula Kiger (@BigGreenPen on Twitter).

She has never seen a shelf cloud in Tallahassee and asks how likely is she to see one. In addition, she asks where she would need to go to see one.

We start with how shelf clouds form:

Shelf clouds are formed from thunderstorms or lines of thunderstorms, that are sometimes strong to severe. Rain cooled air descends down the storm's downdraft, then spreads all across the surface, when reaching Earth's surface. Warm and humid air is lifted at the leading edge of the rain-cooled air. When this warm, moist air condenses, it condenses into the cloud hanging at the surface, known as a shelf cloud.

Here is a diagram from

Now these clouds can accompany a severe storm, with strong gusts and heavy rains. Sometimes, there can be little to no rain at all. But when the ingredients are together, they can form anywhere. Essentially, it is the boundary between the building updraft of a storm, and the out flowing downdraft of a storm. You may not have to travel to see it. You just have to be in the right place at the right time.

Remember you can send your questions to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or send them to ACORDERO@WTXL.TV