Trending | Weird

Sky-Watchers Capture Strange "Udder Clouds" During Storm

CJ Lightning - Facebook

Australia has been dealing with a spot of bad weather this week, but as the old saying goes, every cloud has its silver lining.

Locals from Sydney have been sharing photos of the unusual cloud formations that hovered over the city during recent storms.

The photos are fascinating, but if you see these "udder clouds" in real life, it turns out you should get back indoors ASAP.

The clouds, known as "mammary clouds" or mammatus clouds, earned their name because of their round, bulging appearance. They’re normally spotted during extreme weather events, when cold air drops below the cloud forming the distinctive shape.

While weather watchers say the clouds can look beautiful when the sun strikes them in just the right way, waiting outside to get the perfect shot isn’t very smart.

Australians also spotted the clouds over Melbourne last year, just as a thunderstorm was passing over the city, knocking over trees and causing flash floods.

Still, mammatus clouds sometimes form because conditions are just right for their shape, and aren’t always linked to major storms.

But you should still be careful if you spot them hovering over your town!

The "udder" clouds weren’t the only unusual sight spotted in the sky recently. Closer to home, a meteor that streaked through the sky over San Francisco last week also left traces behind in the night sky.

Meteor cloud
The question mark cloud puzzled Bay Area weather watchers.National Weather Service Bay Area - Twitter

Locals who missed the meteor itself shared photos of a curling question mark-shaped cloud left in its trail, which shone brightly and hung in the sky during the sunset.

As NASA explained, meteors burning up in Earth’s atmosphere trail smoke and space dust, which can form "noctilucent" clouds that shine in the sky. Even the space agency admitted they "look alien," but revealed people have spotted these clouds since then 19th century.

Lenticular cloud
A lenticular cloud, or "saucer," hovers above Cape Town.Alan Glass - Instagram

Earlier this month, locals in Cape Town, South Africa also had a close encounter with unusual clouds, as "saucers" hovered over the city.

These long, flat clouds, called lenticular clouds, are actually fairly common in mountainous areas like Cape Town’s surroundings. They form at high altitudes, and seem to float in place but a long time, but are totally harmless - unless you’re a pilot, because they cause more turbulence than regular clouds.

[H/T: ABC News, Cape Town Etc.]

Have you ever spotted unusual clouds like these?

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com