DISCUSSION: As of earlier today, there were strong thunderstorms which fired up across portions of northern Spain and southern France. As these thunderstorms continued to intensity and spread out in coverage, there was quite an impressive show on display for everyone in the vicinity. This neat convective display was defined by these storms' anvils spreading out in a classic circular radius as shown in the image above. This spreading out of the cloud debris associated with the primary convective updraft is due to the mid/upper-level winds blowing the anvil-based clouds away from the center of the storm. You can also see what are referred to as mammatus clouds under the developing anvil (i.e., towards the center of the aforementioned image which is attached above). Mammatus clouds form via the following process described by atmospheric scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
"For a mammatus to form, the sinking air must be cooler than the air around it and have high liquid water or ice content. They derive their name from their appearance, like the bag-like sacs that hang beneath the cloud resemble cow's udders.
Mammatus are long-lived if the sinking air contains large drops and snow crystals since larger particles require greater amounts of energy for evaporation to occur. Over time, the cloud droplets do eventually evaporate and the mammatus dissolve."
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©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz