Scud Season Is Upon Us

With a warm, soupy air mass in place this time of year, conditions become ripe for rogue, “pop up” thunderstorm development. With summer creeping up, it’s safe to say, scud season is upon us.

What’s Scud?

The official definition for scud, taken from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, is as follows:

Scud (or Fractus) – Small, ragged, low cloud fragments that are unattached to a larger cloud base and often seen with and behind cold fronts and thunderstorm gust fronts. Such clouds generally are associated with cool moist air, such as thunderstorm outflow.

via NOAA Glossary

It’s not uncommon for us to receive numerous photos of “scud”, and at times, it can be appear to be very ominous, given its tornado-like shape (at times) and ragged texture.

Scud was viewed by a number of people Thursday evening across portions of WABBLES, with a powerful storm that advanced from northern Warren County into Edmonson County. Our friends at White Squirrel Weather provided a great view:

Our friend Shane Holinde also provided views he received from around Sunfish, KY in Edmonson County:

How Do We Know It’s Not A Tornado?

In the simplest terms, “scud” doesn’t necessarily rotate. With no rotation, it makes it impossible to cause damage like a tornado. It’s moist air condensing as it gets ingested by the convection (thunderstorms)…

via giphy

We have to understand, certain ingredients are needed for thunderstorms to occur. Storms and rain showers need some type fuel, just like your car does. Moist air provides that energy they need to sustain.

At times as it rapidly rises it may appear to be rotating, but don’t let the naked eye fool you. Our local NWS office has great spotter classes to help teach you these things. Hopefully after ‘Rona, they’ll be offering them again.

The following is a time lapse from our Edmonson Voice SkyCam overlooking Nolin Lake Dam. It had a great view of the storms rolling through Thursday evening. Here’s a clip to showcase scud that occurred. It takes place on the right side of the screen.

Nolin Lake Dam-Cam

Hopefully we’ve provided a bit of education for you in the weather department. The good news is that there’s no chance of scud this weekend, just cooler, drier conditions under sunny skies.

Next week, we return to a summer-like pattern, with the possibility for pop up storms. Will more scud sightings occur? We’ll have to wait and see. Have a great weekend.