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Check out these mammatus clouds

Mammatus clouds can appear ominous. But, in a way that’s so common in nature, their dangerous aspect goes hand in hand with a magnificent beauty.

Mammatus clouds in New Jersey. June 21, 2016. Image via Phil Chillemi?.

Mammatus clouds in New Jersey. June 21, 2016. Image via Phil Chillemi.

Mammatus clouds are pouch-like protrusions hanging from the undersides of clouds, usually thunderstorm anvil clouds but other types of clouds as well. Composed primarily of ice, these cloud pouches can extend hundreds of miles in any direction, remaining visible in your sky for perhaps 10 or 15 minutes at a time. People associate them with severe weather, and it’s true they can appear around, before or after a storm. Contrary to myth, they don’t continue extending downward to form tornados, but they are interesting in part because they’re formed by sinking air. Most clouds are formed by rising air. Mammatus clouds can appear ominous. But, in a way that’s so common in nature, their dangerous aspect goes hand in hand with a magnificent beauty.

Andrew Hill in Gloucestershire, UK, captured these mammatus clouds.

Mammatus clouds via Andrew Hill in Gloucestershire, UK.

Crystal Kolb caught these mammatus clouds on June 23, 2015 from Essex, Maryland - near Baltimore - after a bad storm.

Crystal Kolb caught these mammatus clouds from Essex, Maryland – near Baltimore – after a bad storm.

<a href='http://en.es-static.us/upl/2015/05/sunset-mammatus-clouds-Andrew-Ashton-Mammatus clouds at sunset submitted by Andrew Ashton in Nampa, Idaho.  Thanks, Andrew!

Mammatus clouds at sunset submitted to EarthSky by Andrew Ashton in Nampa, Idaho.

Josh Blash caught these mammtus clouds illuminated by lightning over Rye, New Hampshire on July 4, 2014.

Josh Blash caught these mammtus clouds illuminated by lightning over Rye, New Hampshire.

From Lorrie Wy, who wrote,

From Lorrie Wy, who wrote in May, 2014, “Bubbley clouds over central Alberta, approximately 9:20 p.m. Temp approximately plus 12. Winds cold and light from north west. These clouds just rolled right over.”

Berit Roaldseth in Trondheim, Norway saw these mammtus clouds after a rain shower on April 12, 2014.

Berit Roaldseth in Trondheim, Norway saw these mammtus clouds after an April rain shower.

Photo credit: Mike Price

Mammatus clouds over Fayetteville, Arkansas just before sunset. Image via Mike Price.

View larger. | Mammatus clouds over Ft. Worth, Texas on May 20, 2013 - the day the tornado struck near Oklahoma City.  Photo by our friend Sundog Art Photography.  Visit his page on Facebook here.

Mammatus clouds over Fort Worth, Texas in May, 2013 – the day a tornado struck near Oklahoma City. Photo via Sundog Art Photography

View larger. |  Pam Rice Phillips caught the same mammatus clouds as in the first image, above, on May 20, 2013.  She's in Granbury, Texas, which is southwest of Ft. Worth.  Thank you, Pam.

Pam Rice Phillips caught the same mammatus clouds as in the image above, on May 20, 2013, the day the tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma. She was in Granbury, Texas, which is southwest of Fort Worth.

View larger. |  Mammatus clouds over Tynemouth, England on May 22, 2013.  Photo by Colin Cooper.

Mammatus clouds over Tynemouth, England, via Colin Cooper.

Mammatus clouds over Salt Lake City, Utah from Shanna Dennis.  Thank you, Shanna!

Mammatus clouds over Salt Lake City, Utah from Shanna Dennis.

Mammatus clouds over Denver by EarthSky blogger Larry Sessions.  June 15, 2012.

Mammatus clouds over Denver in 2012 via EarthSky blogger Larry Sessions.

Mammatus clouds over Half Dome in Yosemite National Park on June 2, 2013 by  friend Kristal Leonard.  Thank you, Kristal!

Mammatus clouds over Half Dome in Yosemite National Park in June, 2013 by friend Kristal Leonard.

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Bottom line: A spectacular collection of photos of mammatus clouds.

Deborah Byrd

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