Out-of-this-world display of storm clouds spotted across tri-state on Sunday

Clouds typically form as warm air rises - but mammatus clouds form upside down as cold air sinks, which very few other cloud types do.

Allan Nosoff

Jul 2, 2024, 10:49 PM

Updated 17 days ago

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Many in the tri-state area witnessed a rare display of mammatus clouds after the severe storms that drenched the region Sunday. And these clouds came just in time to create one of the more dramatic skies in recent memory.
What are mammatus clouds? And what makes them so rare?
First, there needs to be a brief science lesson on clouds themselves.
Clouds typically form as warm air rises - but mammatus clouds form upside down as cold air sinks, which very few other cloud types do.
This sinking motion creates a series of sagging, rounded pouches in the sky.
These clouds form on the underside of cumulonimbus anvils aka the clouds that produce thunderstorms once storms typically become severe.
Since Sunday was the largest severe weather outbreak in over a year, with numerous severe thunderstorms crossing the tri-state, that was the perfect opportunity for mammatus clouds to form.
What made these mammatus clouds even more breathtaking was the timing – right at sunset. The low angle of the sun helped enhance the dramatic highlights and shadows between the clouds and sunlight, making the pouches more pronounced and eye-catching.
Just take a look at some of the News 12 Storm Watch Team photos from our meteorologists and our viewers!
All of us witnessed and captured this rare phenomena Sunday evening.
If you ever have eye-catching weather photos, tag us using the hashtag #n12StormWatchers.


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