A Walmart parking lot turned into the set of Independence Day last week when a shelf cloud poured over Anna, Illinois, captured in a video that’s since gone viral.
In the video, shared by Live Storm Chasers, you can see it all in glorious vertical smartphone cam. The footage pans from the Walmart entrance to the end of the parking lot, showcasing the incredible cloud formation stretching far, far off into the distance.
It’s been described elsewhere as “ominous,” “scary,” and even downright “apocalyptic.” I can’t argue with that.
Fortunately, this is not a herald of the apocalypse. Well, probably not.
The phenomenon is pretty simple, and all natural: It’s a shelf cloud, a subtype of low and horizontal cloud formations called arcus clouds. According to Wikipedia, they’re usually attached to the base of a “thunderstorm cumulonimbus,” and can sometimes precede a “potentially violent” wind squall, or a sharp burst in windspeed.
In this case, the temperature dipped and it got windy, but the whole thing moved on within minutes.
Nonetheless, many have compared the event, which occurred on August 7, to something out of a horror movie, particularly Stephen King’s The Mist. If you’ve never read the novella or seen the 2007 movie, it’s about a weird, thick mist that engulfs a small town, bringing with it a number of terrifying creatures not of this world.
While the shelf cloud here might look similar to what you’d expect from a rolling inter-dimensional mist, I haven’t seen any reports yet of monster attacks from a parallel universe. But I’ll keep my eyes open.
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