A wildfire near Amarillo, Texas, formed a rare pyrocumulus cloud on Friday. The thunderstorm produced one-inch hail in portions of the panhandle that caused the National Weather Service to issue a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for areas downstream of the fire and storm.
The Mallard Fire flared up on May 8 and has burned more than 70 square miles of land in Texas. Due to the intense heat of the storm, a pyrocumulus cloud--also called a fire clouds or flammagenitus--formed.
These rare clouds usually form in association with wildfires or volcanic eruptions due to the intense heating of the air which cools and condenses as it ascends.
The rapid rising of the air can sometimes allow clouds to build and become a thunderstorm, like what occurred in Texas. Winds become stronger when air rises, and the more erratic air can help sustain and strengthen fires.
As for the storm in Texas, the supercell formed to the northeast of the wildfire creating a storm that produced one-inch hail north of Wheeler, Texas, on Friday evening.
Lightning was also possible in pyrocumulus clouds, which was observed from the storm created by the Mallard Fire. The cloud to ground lightning is dangerous cause it could create more wildfires. This is due to the lack of rain with these storms and the intense winds could spread wildfires.
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