22 August 2019
Don Burdick took a photo in Rehoboth Beach Tuesday afternoon that just may be the most stunning cloud image I’ve seen. This image makes a meteorologist’s jaw drop but Don’s partner, who works at NOAA in Washington, had to convince him that it really was one of the all-time great images of what is called a shelf cloud!
What you are seeing is the shelf cloud from one storm (in the far distance) being dragged upward into the updraft of a second storm nearby. I was watching these storms on radar, and they were intense with warnings issued. They produced some strong and damaging wind gusts as well. Both Maryland and Delaware of seen an incredible amount of severe weather this summer with both states breaking by a large margin their record yearly number of severe weather warnings.
If you want to know what a shelf cloud is then read what Dennis Mersereau wrote about them on the Vane in 2014. Dennis is an excellent science writer, and he captured the awe we meteorologists have with clouds like these.
This one though is one for the ages!
Here it is with permission to post (but not for you to use):