13 Incredible Tornadic Wall Clouds

Image: Brad Smull, NOAA

Wall cloud with lightning in Miami, Texas

Every child knows that converging warm and cool streams of air cause thunderstorms. But next time you notice a zeppelin-like structure forming below one of the cumulus clouds, beware – this might be a tornado in the making! Wall clouds, as pretty and dramatic as they may look, are often just the first warning sign, spelling out “RUN!” as clearly as they can.

Image: NOAA

Apocalypse now? Dramatic looking wall cloud

Simply put, a wall cloud is the lower portion of a cumulus cloud, caused by ascending warm air that mixes with descending cool and moist air. Thunderstorms are a result of this phenomenon but wall clouds also form the basis for tornadoes.