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9 scary images of shelf clouds

By: Russell McLendon on Oct. 5, 2011, 9:02 a.m.
Shelf cloud over Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Photo: Sensenmann/Wikimedia Commons

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Yucatán, Mexico

July is often a stormy month for Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, and this picturesque shelf cloud on July 15, 2005, was just a precursor to a far more dangerous storm three days later.

After nearly an inch of rain on July 15, the eastern Yucatán got double that on July 18, when Hurricane Emily made landfall as a Category 4 storm. Emily left a path of destruction from Grenada to Mexico, and remains the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded in July.