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Mesmerizing mammatus clouds fill Texas sky amid severe thunderstorms

By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
May 24, 2019, 10:45:11 AM EDT

Another round of severe thunderstorms struck the Texas Panhandle on Thursday afternoon, spinning up tornadoes and hammering the region with hailstones larger than golf balls. However, one storm set itself apart from the rest, putting on a spectacular display of clouds over Lubbock, Texas.

This unique, pouch-shaped type of cloud is called a mammatus cloud and typically only appears on the underside of a thunderstorm.

Unlike most clouds that are created by rising air, mammatus clouds develop when air sinks. The sinking air must be cooler than the air around it and have high liquid water or ice content.


Mammatus clouds photographed over Lubbock, Texas, on Thursday afternoon.


A close-up view of the mammatus clouds over Lubbock, Texas, on Thursday afternoon.




A zoomed-in photo of the mammatus clouds over Lubbock, Texas.

Mammatus clouds filled the sky over Lubbock, associated with a nearby severe thunderstorm. The storm eventually tracked over Lubbock, hammering the area with hail ranging from the size of quarters to tennis balls.

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Farther to the north, more powerful thunderstorms spun up large tornadoes in the northeastern corner of the Texas Panhandle.

At 7:22 p.m. CDT Thursday, there were two confirmed tornadoes on the ground at the same time less than 50 miles apart from each other. These tornadoes were largely spinning over open land, but one tracked over Highway 83, according to a storm chaser.

No major damage or injuries have been reported as of Thursday evening.

The areas of the central U.S. that experienced severe weather on Thursday will continue to be at risk of damaging thunderstorms and tornadoes into the Memorial Day weekend.

“Because multiple storms may move repeatedly over the same locations late this week, flooding will again be a major concern,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliott said.

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