Debbie Williams/WKRG TV

Is it safe to come out from under the bed now?

There are clouds, and then there are clouds: dark, billowing behemoths loaded with so much doom they make you want to crawl back into a diaper.

Thursday afternoon a cloud of the latter variety blew into Pensacola, Florida, and Debbie Williams at WKRG-TV was good enough to snag a photo so the Internet can be as aghast as these people on the beach. (Why aren't they running?) Here it is, in all its horizon-eating monstrosity:

The National Weather Service also identified it as a shelf cloud, which are low, wedge-shaped gusters often attached to the bases of towering thunderstorms. And indeed, storms were in the forecast for yesterday... and today, and tomorrow, into infinity:

NWS Mobile

I can think of few clouds that carry this dominating bearing: last July's exploding mushroom over Denver must be one, and another would be 2011's "tsunami in the sky" that appeared in Nebraska after toppling through a space-time hole from the terrifying lightning blizzards of Jupiter. But for this year, the monster over Pensacola is so far in the lead for anxiety fuel. Here are a couple more shots of it:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of a tiny house in Oregon
    Design

    How Amazon Could Transform the Tiny House Movement

    Could the e-commerce giant help turn small-home living from a niche fad into a national housing solution?

  2. The downtown St. Louis skyline.
    Perspective

    Downtown St. Louis Is Rising; Black St. Louis Is Being Razed

    Square co-founder Jack Dorsey is expanding the company’s presence in St. Louis and demolishing vacant buildings on the city’s north side.

  3. A portrait of Jay-Z.
    Equity

    The Roots of Jay-Z’s ‘Black Capitalism’

    Now partnering with the NFL, Jay-Z centers wealth-building in his activism, as many African Americans have before him—but without much success.

  4. A rendering of Oakland, California, that replaces Interstate 980 with a surface boulevard
    Transportation

    Here Are the Urban Highways That Deserve to Die

    The Congress for New Urbanism once again ranks the most-loathed urban freeways in North America—and makes the case for tearing them down.

  5. Environment

    What U.S. Cities Facing Climate Disaster Risks Are Least Prepared?

    New studies find cities most vulnerable to climate change disasters—heat waves, flooding, rising seas, drought—are the least prepared.

×