Rain shafts - connecting the clouds to the ground!

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Quad Cities (KWQC) - With all of the storms, lately, we've been able to see some pretty dramatic Rain Shafts! These are literally the cores of falling rain defined by just how heavy they actually are. You're most likely to see them when the rain is heavy because as the large drops of water speed toward the ground they are moving too fast and are too heavy to succumb to much "drift" which would cause a more fuzzy appearance to the rain! The large falling raindrops also drag with them rain-cooled air from the cloud which can sometimes provide a cushion for the rain to fall on. If this happens the leading edge of the falling rain will spread out more in front of the center of the rain core. And, because the air is cooler, heavier, and spreading outward from the parent storm, you can sometimes get a nice cool and sudden breeze right before the rain reaches you. Some rain shafts have a pretty distinct edge all the way to the ground. If you drive into one you'll notice the visibility dropping to near ZERO pretty quickly. If this is the case you should also slow down by lifting your foot off the gas pedal cause hydroplaning can cause a quick loss of control!