Photo of the day: Roll cloud over Wisconsin

Tornadoes are everywhere this season, but where there are tornadoes, there are sometimes roll clouds. This shot was taken by me while I rode in the passenger seat through a wicked storm in Western Wisconsin last sumer. As my fiance and I drove closer to the rotating cloud, a sight we’d never before seen, we were a little intimidated. The radio was relaying to us tornado warnings and despite the presence of this ominous cloud, everything seemed eerily calm. As soon as we passed under the roll cloud, however, we were slammed with a torrential downpour of rain and hail. The storm darkened our field of vision tremendously. We found out later that day that this particular storm system had also spawned 3 separate tornadoes–fortunately, we didn’t see any of them.

A roll cloud is a type of Arcus Cloud. Roll clouds are low and tube-shaped and, generally speaking, pretty rare.