Shelf cloud looms over Merida; internet goes wild

A shelf cloud startles skygazers in Merida. Photo: Daniel Enrique Meneses Rosendo

Merida, Yucatan — A massive shelf cloud took the city by surprise when it loomed over head on Thursday.

The natural occurrence was all the rage on social media shortly after it appeared. At least one online “influencer” was accused of faking his footage when he showed the long, tubular cloud stretching clear across the sky.

Shelf clouds are a favorite on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, with countless people posting photos and videos when they do appear. The imagery that these clouds create can be stunning, and the science behind them is also very interesting.

Shelf clouds form a boundary between cold and warm air near or on top of a thunderstorm, or group of thunderstorms. The colder air descends to the Earth’s surface while the warmer air is lifted and eventually condenses, creating the image we know as a shelf cloud.

Sources: Storyful, Yahoo News

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