Wall Cloud

A local and often abrupt lowering of a rain-free cumulonimbus base into a low-hanging accessory cloud, from 1 to 4 miles in diameter. The wall cloud is usually situated in the southwest portion of the storm below an intense updraft marked by the main cumulonimbus cloud and associated with a very strong or severe thunderstorm. When seen from several miles away, many wall clouds exhibit rapid upward motion and rotation in the same sense as a tornado, except with considerably lower speed. A rotating wall cloud usually develops before tornadoes or funnel clouds by a time which can range from a few minutes up to possibly an hour.