This incredible Shelf Cloud, looking like an alien spacecraft from the film “Independence Day” came in over Durham in July 2015. Although it looked very threatening, on this occasion not much rain fell from it. It’s the best example I’ve seen of a Shelf Cloud in the UK.
On 1st July 2015, the temperature hit 30 degC in Durham, being only the 30th such occasion since 1850 to reach the mark. The actual max was 30.2 degC. It was a very hot sultry day, which quickly degenerated into thunderstorms with rain and hail.
A shelf cloud is a low, horizontal wedge-shaped cloud, associated with a thunderstorm gust front (or occasionally with a cold front, even in the absence of thunderstorms). A rising cloud motion often can be seen in the leading part of the shelf cloud, while the underside often appears turbulent, boiling, and wind-torn.