Watch: Massive shelf clouds take hold of Haridwar skies amidst heavy monsoon rains

Watch: Massive shelf clouds take hold of Haridwar skies amidst heavy monsoon rains

Watch: Massive shelf clouds take hold of Haridwar skies amidst heavy monsoon rains

A viral video from Haridwar, one of the most revered Hindu pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand, has hit headlines. The clip shows elongated stretches of shelf clouds or arcus clouds. The threatening clouds are attached to the base of a cumulonimbus thunderstorm and can produce hail, thunder and lightning. Cumulonimbus clouds, popularly known as ‘The King of Clouds,’ are composed of low-lying and terrifying multiple cloud formations.

In the past few days, the ongoing heavy monsoon rains have battered India causing landslides and flash floods in the country’s north. This has submerged roads and stranded residents.

Check out the viral video:

As per a user, the spectacular shelf-cloud video was shared by his friend and shot near Haridwar. However, the video has no official or verified source. The video garnered over 1.6 lakh views.

What are shelf or arcus clouds?

The eye-pleasing ‘Shelf or Arcus clouds’ form in different shapes and sizes. As per Met Office, they are ‘wedge shaped, or a long rolling horizontal column.’ Their formation is usually a result of the culmination of cold air from a thunderstorm pushing warm, moist air upwards. The rising warm air goes upwards, cools and its condensation leads to formation of clouds. With time, wind direction influences new cloud formation. However, an Arcus cloud lasts only briefly.

Are shelf clouds dangerous?

More commonly, arcus clouds symbolise impending disaster. Judging by the intensity, it can help people find shelter and safety. Since their formation lies in thunderclouds, shelf-clouds are accompanied by strong winds and rainstorms along with thunder and lightning. As per Met Office, the clouds themselves do not result in precipitation but heavy showers in a vicinity surrounding cumulonimbus clouds can result in rainfall. Due to its rigor, a tornado may be formed by them in rare instances.

Are shelf clouds rare?

Even though the video of the Haridwar storm showed the alerting and colossal shelf-like clouds as unusual, they are not rare in India. India has witnessed them previously during the monsoon months.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued an alert predicting heavy rainfall in Uttarakhand for three days. Badrinath National Highway along with several connecting roads were blocked due to incessant rains and landslides. This has led Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami to urge people to avoid unnecessary travel.