A shelf cloud near Madison, Wisconsin, July 18, 2015 (Kirby Wright via Flickr)

Along the leading edge of a powerful line of thunderstorms that swept across Wisconsin Saturday morning, photographers captured hauntingly beautiful views of shelf clouds.

The bowing “shelfies” were seen from Green Bay to Madison in the hours near dawn as a cold front came through.

CWG’s Angela Fritz described how these clouds form in a previous post:

Shelf clouds are common ahead of thunderstorms that form into lines — things like squall lines, bow echoes or derechos — and are usually indicative of strong wind gusts. They develop as the cool, moist outflow gets sucked back up into the storm. Because of the relatively low temperature and high moisture content in this pool of air, it condenses to form a cloud at a lower level than the surrounding storm clouds.

The top photo, of the shelf cloud barreling down Lake Mendota adjacent to Madison, was shared over 5,000 times on the University of Wisconsin’s Facebook page!

Here are a number of other stunning views of the storm:

More shelf clouds:

Photos: Ominous shelf clouds roll through Nebraska and Kentucky

A wicked-looking shelf cloud rolls through Kentucky and Ohio (Photos)

Timelapse: Shelf cloud, hail sweep through Sydney, Australia

Monday’s thunderstorms were a cloud-lover’s dream (Photos)