This is How Mother Nature Rolls

By Eric Jeansonne

Published 07/23 2014 01:54PM

Updated 07/24 2014 09:19AM

Roll Cloud in Burkburnett, TX June 23, 2014
Roll Cloud in Burkburnett, TX June 23, 2014
Mother nature has always had a flair for the dramatic. Tornadoes. Hurricanes.
Blizzards. But, she isn't 
always destructive. Every now and then mother nature
likes to roll out in style and grace. Literally.


Roll clouds are a type of arcus cloud defined by the American Meteorological
Society as a low-level, 
horizontal, tube-shaped cloud associated with a gust
front of a thunderstorm or sometimes a cold front.
 

Roll clouds are considered rare and occur less common than their cousin, the
shelf cloud. 
They differ from shelf clouds because they are completely detached
from the base of 
thunderstorms. 

How do Roll Clouds Form?

When rain-cooled air rushes out ahead of a thunderstorm, it “scoops” up warm,
moist air. As the warm 
air rises, it cools and moisture condenses to form clouds.
A layer of warm air above the surface prevents 
the clouds from rising further,
thus the clouds remain low to the ground and are molded into a “tubular” 
shape
like a giant rolling pin. This phenomenon also occurs ahead of cold fronts.


Roll clouds occur all over the world, including Texoma. While they may appear ominous,
they are harmless. Sometimes, that's just how mother nature “rolls.

Meteorologist Eric Jeansonne
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