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Spectacular mammatus or 'mammary clouds' form over Sydney as storms swirl nearby

Wednesday January 2, 2019 - 22:31 EDT

As , keen weather-watchers have documented unusual cloud formations called mammatus, or "mammary clouds", in the skies over parts of Sydney.

A number of people have posted snapshots to our documenting the clouds.

Mammatus clouds appear as rounded pouches or bulges hanging underneath the base of a cloud, and are generally associated with severe weather or storm activity.

The word , and the clouds form their distinctive shape when cold air sinks below the cloud.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) , the clouds are "dramatic, beautiful adornments, especially when side-lit".

Mammatus clouds are often associated with extreme weather, but when they are formed in the sky it merely indicates "descending pockets of small droplets or ice crystals from an anvil surface", BOM said.

And, according to BOM, while they might look pretty dramatic and often appear around the same time as severe storms, mammatus clouds themselves are perfectly harmless.


© ABC 2019

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