We have had (and are still experiencing) waves of storms passing through this area of the central Queensland 'Capricornia' coast, Australia. This area is a subtropical coastal environment, close to sea level.

The following picture is one I took from my the balcony outside my lab (facing east):

enter image description here

The storm was moving to the north (left) and that part of the sky was a featureless heavy cloud. The conditions were as follows:

Ambient temperature: 30C (86F)

Wind: strong, to the north

Conditions: Heavy rain periods, heavy thunder and lightning, about 10 minutes later, the sky cleared, temperature rose and the wind dropped to barely a breeze. Numerous cloud-to-ground and cloud-to-cloud lightning was noticed from this cloud formation.

I am leaning towards this being a 'scud cloud', but a local weather-enthusiast claims it was a weakly formed non-rotating wall cloud.

What type of cloud is this?

  • $\begingroup$ Do you have any additional pictures of this? I think I am leaning toward it being a non-rotating wall cloud; however, additional pictures would be helpful. $\endgroup$ – L.B. Jan 23 '15 at 16:50
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    $\begingroup$ @L.B. Unfortunately, no - however, to the left was just a uniform grey mass of clouds, to the right was a continuation of the cloud bank. This was quite a fast moving system. $\endgroup$ – user889 Jan 23 '15 at 19:54
  • $\begingroup$ The cloud that is slightly triangular was apart of a cloud mass that sat slightly lower than the rest of the clouds didn't it? $\endgroup$ – L.B. Jan 23 '15 at 21:07

I had a rather difficult time telling how the rest of the cloud structure looks; however, I would tend to believe your weather-enthusiast friend might be correct.

A wall cloud - rotating or not - can also be known as a pedestal cloud and is made up of cumulonimbus clouds; generally forming in the strongest part of the storm. From what I can tell in the picture and judging by the weather that came from it; it sounds like it was a non-rotating wall cloud. Here is an additional reference page that may help you identify it.

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