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Curious about those beautiful clouds?

(Josh Gavin in Lynchburg)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Aren't these pictures awesome?

Many of our viewers sent us beautiful images of storm clouds with magnificent colors the past two days as many areas deal with severe thunderstorms.

These clouds also show exactly what’s happening within the storms.

Notice how the clouds have a “popcorn” appearance.

Sometimes these are nicknamed “knuckle clouds! Officially, these clouds are transitioning from "towering cumulus" into "cumulonimbus" clouds.

The crispy appearance is due to huge amounts of warm, rising area. This warm air cloud has a white appearance as it expands upward into the cooler air. You can stand outside and watch the cloud build vertically; the taller the cloud, the stronger the storm!

As a general rule sharper, crispy clouds develop into stronger storms because taller clouds have more heat energy and are more likely to produce severe weather including large hail.

The different cloud colors are due to the sun’s low angle in the sky; most of the pictures were taken near/just before sunset.

The cloud tops are typically whiter because they are receiving direct sunlight. The lower sections of clouds may look yellow, blue, pink and purple.

The sunlight is less direct and is reflected and refracted within the cloud. The colors appear darker where the moisture content (rain drops) is highest.

Thank you for sharing your pictures with us! – George

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