LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Science with Sarah is breaking down the types of clouds that you all send us photos of all the time. Whether it's dark and tall or low and jagged, some clouds may look dangerous but don't pose a huge threat.
Cumulonimbus Clouds are tall storms that can come with cold fronts or because of daytime heating in the warm months. The main threats are strong wind, frequent lightning and hail. Tornadoes aren't always associated with these clouds. Cumulonimbus are also cool clouds because you can see them from miles away on a clear day.
Scud clouds hang vertically below a cumulonimbus cloud but are harmless and non-rotating. These are sometimes mistaken for funnel clouds, but have a raggedy appearance rather than a swirl to the clouds.
Shelf Clouds form at the leading edge of a front or out ahead of a storm. Tiered looking, shelf clouds should be seen as a precursor of strong winds, so it's time to head indoors.
Wall clouds are a good indicator that dangerous storms could occur in moments and they lower from a thunderstorm like a wall. Wall clouds can rotate, and when they do, they are a warning sign of violent thunderstorms. Wall clouds can also be a sign that a tornado could touch down within minutes or even within the hour.
Funnel clouds are rotating but do not reach the ground. A funnel cloud should be treated as a tornado, since they could touch down any moment, but sometimes will never make contact in order for damage to occur.