The Story of the Little Cloud that Could


For much of the day, crystal blue skies and hot sunshine prevailed over north Alabama.

But shortly before 4pm, a meteorologist watching the radar spotted a curiosity:

And then a lightning research meteorologist responded:

And it was a cute little cumulus cloud! But it had hot, humid air to fuel it… And the power of the outflow boundary to lift it…

Just after 5pm, a chief meteorologist noticed some precipitation aloft:

The cloud had grown significantly in just a few minutes! But it wasn’t done yet!

The little cloud that could grew from a small, fair weather cumulus cloud, to a tall cumulonimbus cloud that stretched higher than 30,000 feet!

During the height (pun intended) of this cloud’s career, it produced heavy rain and ONE lightning strike, which proves that even a small, little cumulus cloud can one day grow to be a giant thunderhead.

And it started off as a cute little cloud, but it grew into a beautiful thunderstorm! It seemed all eyes were on the cloud’s beauty, and rain curtain.

And by 6pm, the thunderstorm was gone!

The moral of the story

Often, storms form when an outflow boundary moves into an area of warm, humid air. These boundaries can serve as miniature “cold fronts” that can fire up thunderstorms in their wake.

However, the storms don’t necessarily move very far for very long, and they can develop — and dissipate — all within an hour.

And also, never underestimate yourself… Or the cute little clouds in the sky!

If you notice a cloud growing in the distance, it’s always a clue that a thunderstorm development may occur.

Track heavy storms with’s Interactive Radar or swipe over to the radar feature on Live Alert 19! You can also get up-to-date, location-based alerts wherever you are on Live Alert 19. Download it today for iOS and Android.

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