Urania

A blog named for the muse of Astronomy containing musings by an astronomer

June Storms

Posted on June 15, 2008 by Juan

We had a set of hard storms come through yesterday afternoon. I was doing SkyWarn spotting with the local hams. I think (but will leave it to experts to confirm) that the structure under the smooth part of the storm (“the shelf) is a wall cloud. For a sense of scale, this is 8 photos stitched together covering above a fifth of my horizon and the leading edge of this storm when it was about five miles away.. Shortly after I shot this picture, the sirens went off. Rotation was spotted, but luckily, no funnel cloud touched down. Thankfully, while the storm blew through at 60 miles per hour, we had no significant damage… Still, it looked mean…

June 14, 2008 Storm

Addendum: I sent the picture to Greg Gust, who runs some of the SkyWarn stuff for the National Weather Service in Grand Forks. He sent me these additional comments:

Most of the structure is a classic shelf cloud on the leading edge of a line of thunderstorms… this the widespread strong to severe winds as it came through. One the south end was the feature that we believe was a wall cloud… rotating updraft… and was what prompted us to issue the Tornado Warning across the southern part of Fargo and Moorhead.

[Added August 9,2008] It appears at least two people saw this wall cloud and posted videos on YouTube. I have embedded them below.

This first video is from “bluemanhal” and contains some audio. Notice how far he has to pan the camera to see this. My photo was a panorama about 150 degrees, which loses its perspective in the image:

This second video is from “cpilotkid” and appears to have been shot from the West Acres Mall parking lot, but again notice how far he has to pan to get the entire wall cloud:

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