Clouds and Precipitation

What precipitation is going to fall from the clouds?


When you think about clouds you think puffy and soft but thats not what they are like except for cumulus clouds. They come in many different forms. Clouds can be in layers, or even look like big towers. Some you don't even see because they are see through. Fog is a cloud too! It is important to know what clouds they are so you can tell what weather is coming.

Types of Clouds

  • Stratus
  • Cumulus
  • Cumulonimbus
  • Cirrus

Rainy and Snowy Stratus clouds

Stratus clouds are multiple gray layers that cover the gray sky. There altitude is 0 to 1,500m. These clouds mean snow or rain. They are the lowest clouds, closest to us.

Puffy, Fluffy Cumulus clouds

When Cumulus clouds occer it means the weather is going to be fair because Cumulus clouds are called fair weather clouds. Their altitude is 1,500 to 6,000m. They are puffy fluffy clouds kind of like cotton balls piled up on each other.

Towering Cumulonimbus Clouds

Cumulonimbus clouds have an altitude of 1,500 to 15,000m. They mean that their may be showers and some thunderstorms , they are very big and large. Cumulonimbus clouds almost look mushroom like and billowing.

Invisable Cirrus Clouds

These clouds are very wispy, thin, and easy to see through. When cirrus clouds approch it may indicate an approching storm. Their altitude is 12,000m and up. These clouds are the highest up in the air.


You have to know what clouds are in the sky to tell what precipitation is going to happen. Precipitation falls to Earth as water droplets, ice crystals, small ice cubes, or even softball or golfball sized ice!

Types of Precipitation

  • Rain
  • Snow
  • Sleet
  • Hail

Pitter Patter Rain Drops

Rain falls to Earth as big or small droplets of water. It only rains when the temperature is above 32° farenheight or 0° celsius.

Frosty Snow

The temperature for snow has to be below (unlike rain) 32° farenheight or 0° celsius. Snow falls to Earth as very detailed ice crystals.

Super Duper Sleet

Sleet is like hails cousin, just not as big. Sleet forms when rain drops form and when it is cold enough to freeze. It fall to the Earth as little ice cubes.

Watch out, Softball Sized Hail!

Hail can be either little squares of ice or ice the size of golfballs and softballs! It you get hit by hail you will be very injured because hail falls to Earth as huge chunks of ice.

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