CLEVELAND -- Storms moving through downtown Cleveland made buildings disappear into a sea of storm clouds on Monday evening.

This video, which we captured from one of our station cameras, showcases a shelf cloud.

A shelf cloud is a low, horizontal wedge-shaped cloud associated with the gust front of a thunderstorm.

The gust front is the leading edge of cool air that rushes down and out from a thunderstorm.

There are two main reasons why the air flows out of some thunderstorms so rapidly. The primary reason is the presence of relatively dry, low-humid air in the lower atmosphere. The second reason is that the falling precipitation produces a drag on the air forcing it downward.

A shelf cloud is attached to the base of the parent cloud above it. The underside of the cloud appears very turbulent and intimidating, almost boiling or wind-torn.

It should not be confused with the wall cloud. Some wall clouds rotate. Rotating wall clouds usually develop before strong or violent


Here's a look at the shelf cloud over Lorain Harbor.

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Compressed version of the video

Watch shelf cloud move across Cleveland during storm May 12. Video has been compressed to show entire event in :40.

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