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The California coast recently experienced a “roll cloud”: what is it?


Make no mistake: if you ever do experience this rare cloud in the sky, it’ll wow you. It’s quite benign, though, and here’s why:

Shockingly, the Earth’s atmosphere is host to many phenomenon we don’t even realize happens often (such as the most recent eclipse of 2017), but what many don’t know is that there are some foreboding clouds of old mysticism, arguably, that many would characterize as a harbinger of the end times, or a great apocalypse. What is this specific phenomenon?

It’s Called a “Roll Cloud” — the California Coast Recently Experienced One

And, honestly, the reason why it made the viral news is that this phenomenon might scare a lot of people. You can actually watch the video right here, but don’t freak out. This isn’t a Book of Revelations event or anything.


A roll cloud is nothing more than a low-level horizontal tube-shaped standalone cloud pulled from the cumulonimbus base. In other words…. the cloud fell and formed a roll that pulls clear across the sky at a very low level. This is honestly why many freak out, especially since this type of cloud is quite rare.

You often see a roll cloud along a gust front — hence massive winds accompany it. Typically thunderstorms follow it, either on a cold front or line squall, but nothing so extreme that it gets you running for cover. Thankfully a roll cloud isn’t a tornado, nor does it cause one.

Important Things to Know as We Experience Hurricane Seasons

And Harvey’s hit the Lonestar State hard as hurricanes tend to do. So it does well to be pretty informed about how the weather operates and all its variances. The roll cloud is a minor rarity for a meteorologist, but it is a sight to see if you’re lucky to see one. Again, mainly harmless, but just a reminder at how powerful the skies are.