"Roll Cloud" hits East Texas - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

"Roll Cloud" hits East Texas

East Texas saw one of the rarest natural phenomenon this morning in the form of a "Roll Cloud."

This ominous cloud formation is formed when a thunderstorm's cool outflow boundary races out ahead of the main storm causing the warm air to rise only to tumble back down on the back side of the outflow.

This causes the air to spin horizontally well out ahead of the approaching storm. In most cases the storm will begin to die out because the warm moist air it needs to continue is being cut off by the fast moving outflow. But while it lasts a long horizontal tube like cloud will form close to the ground, sometimes stretching for 50 mile or more, like we saw this morning.

Since the horizontal spin is well displaced from the storms updraft, there is no threat of seeing this spin becoming a tornado. But many times these roll clouds are accompanied by very strong winds as high as 60 mph, like we saw this morning in a few areas.

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