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'Roll Cloud' Over Memphis: It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a Joint?

'Roll Cloud' Over Memphis: It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a Joint?

Roll cloud (Dan Ross/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Tuesday, 26 June 2018 12:20 PM

A "roll cloud" over Memphis earlier this month was mistaken by some for a UFO or something more Earthly, WBBM-TV reported, explaining that the odd cylinder-like formation appeared to be moving along its horizontal axis.

While the clouds spooked some, the formation was natural, even if it was rare.

"Personally, I don't think we're alone in the universe, but that was not the proof we're looking for," WMC-TV chief meteorologist Ron Childers said while addressing a question from a viewer about the clouds.

"It's a low, horizontal, tube-shaped cloud formation, a rolling solitary wave. There are two types of arcus clouds, roll clouds and shelf clouds. Shelf clouds are typically found along the leading edge of a super-cell thunderstorm resulting from the downdraft of the storm," Childers said.

The National Weather Service said the tube-shaped arcus clouds are often associated with a thunderstorm gust front and sometimes with a cold front. The clouds are are completely detached from the thunderstorm base or other cloud features, thus differentiating them from the more familiar shelf clouds.

NASA’s website said a roll cloud may form when a downdraft from an advancing storm front causes moist warm air to rise and cool below its dew point. When that happens uniformly along an extended front, it creates the best chance for a roll cloud to form.

Many on social media found humor in the roll cloud sighting, with some marijuana references.

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A "roll cloud" over Memphis earlier this month was mistaken by some for a UFO, WBBM-TV reported, explaining that the odd cylinder-like formation appeared to be moving along its horizontal axis.
roll cloud, memphis
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2018-20-26
Tuesday, 26 June 2018 12:20 PM
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