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Strange ‘anvil-top’ cloud formation was just a distant thunderstorm, says News 5’s Trent Magill

'Mushroom' shape had some joking online about the apocalypse
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Posted at 9:31 AM, Aug 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-18 09:41:23-04

CLEVELAND — On Wednesday afternoon, several viewers and one of our own news anchors noticed an unusual cloud in the sky with a protruding “anvil-top-like” formation at the top.

Its close resemblance to a "mushroom cloud" even had some online joking about the end of the world.

You can come out of your bunker — News 5’s Trent Magill says this formation isn’t actually that unusual. It’s just a thunderstorm, but it’s what a thunderstorm looks like from about 20 miles away.

While close to the horizon, because it’s so far off, it’s a view of the cloud as it sits about 30,000 feet up in the sky. The top fans out like that from the upper levels of winds blowing the top off to the side.

As News 5’s Mike Brookbank suspected, that cloud was the small storm he saw on his News 5 App’s weather radar, just very far off from where he was viewing it.

That storm pulsed up, meaning it built fast, rained itself out and faded away. Magill estimated the full life cycle was about 45 minutes.

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