Viewers capture eye-popping shelf clouds over Lowcountry

Viewers capture eye-popping shelf clouds over Lowcountry
Source: Anna Eagerton Stoudenmire
Source: Anna Eagerton Stoudenmire

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Mother Nature put on an incredible display of cloud formations Monday night as a line of storms moved into the Lowcountry and viewers were quick to grab their cell phones and cameras.

"The clouds were very photogenic but they were not severe storms," Meteorologist Joey Sovine said of the cloud formations.

Known as "shelf clouds," they formed Monday night as a line of thunderstorms between Columbia and Augusta, Georgia, moved into the Lowcountry. As the storms moved in, Sovine said they created a gust front with rain-cooled air rushing out ahead. As that cooler air met warmer, moist air, the boundaries of the air masses produced the dramatic formations.

"They were definitely eye-catching," he said.

Shelf clouds are fairly common in the summer months as storms move in, he said.

Monday night's storms are part of a pattern of on-and-off storms set to continue through the weekend, he said. Some days will see stronger storms than others, but each afternoon poses a chance of storms.

Lightning in the clouds can still pose a danger, however. Lightning has been known to extend as far as 10 to 15 miles away from cloud masses.

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