Scud cloud develops in Bedford this past weekend

Cloud looks menacing, but often is not

Photo: Chris Overstreet - Bedford
Photo: Chris Overstreet - Bedford

BEDFORD, Va – Scud clouds are often confused with funnel clouds or tornadoes. You can see why in the picture above. You see a column of clouds rising from the ground up and immediately think, "Oh my gosh! That's a tornado!"

The letters in scud stand for Scattered Cumulus Under Deck. This kind of cloud is found below, and unattached to, a layer of clouds out in front of a thunderstorm. Cooler air flows out of the thunderstorm, reaches the ground and then lifts up to form the scud cloud. 

So, how can we tell the difference between a funnel cloud and scud cloud? Simply put, a scud cloud does not rotate. You can see its snail-like progression upward, but this kind of cloud will not rotate. Also, scud clouds only last for a minute or two. 

Chris Overstreet was in the right place at the right time over the weekend to capture this particular occurrence in the photo above. 

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