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Shelf Cloud

The shelf cloud is a low-level horizontal arcus-type accessory cloud that appears to be wedge-shaped as it approaches. It is usually attached to the thunderstorm base and forms along the gust front. The leading edge of the shelf is often smooth and at times layered or terraced. It is most often seen along the leading edge of an approaching line of thunderstorms, accompanied by gusty straight winds as it passes overhead and followed by precipitation. It is an extension of the main cloud, unlike the roll cloud. The underside is concave upward, turbulent, boiling, or wind-torn. Tornadoes rarely occur with the shelf cloud.


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