Horseshoe vortex cloud

horseshoe vortex cloud photo by Cheri Rhea

Air is constantly in motion as wind, with gusts, swirls and spins. A cloud nicknamed “horseshoe vortex cloud” shows just that. It’s a cloud that forms on a vortex (spinning tube) of air. Cheri Rhea noticed one in the Barnwell Community of Baldwin County, Alabama, on February 17, 2019.

While you might think of a vertical vortex associated with a funnel cloud, a vortex can also be horizontal or parallel to the ground. The “horseshoe vortex cloud” seems to form on top of the vortex, where the air is rising, or where the entire vortex buckles upward. A vortex can be caused by wind moving along the ground. It may be caused by uneven heating of the ground by the sun. A vortex can be created by a gust of wind from a distant shaft of rain or from a thunderstorm.

Exactly how a “horseshoe vortex cloud” forms still has some mystery but With more and more smartphone cameras, people are capturing the unique cloud more often. It’s certainly interesting. Share your great weather photos with WKRG.

See these other examples in a picture  and in a YouTube video 

This video, in fast motion, shows how the air moves through the cloud…


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