Cloud Types and Precipitation

What is precipitation? What are the cloud types?

Precipitation is basicly what falls from the sky.It could be Rain,snow,sleet , or hail. All precipitation is water,When the water freezes it could be another storm. The main cloud types are Cirrus clouds, Cumulonimbus clouds,Cumulus clouds and Stratus clouds. They sound funny because they are Greek words.

The Cirrus clouds

The Cirrus clouds are the highest up in the atmosphere ,1,200 meters up in the sky.They look wispy and are see through kind of like way to strechted out cotton.They may indicate an approching storm.

The Cumulonimbus clouds

The Cumulonimbus clouds are the next highest in the atmosphere.They are 1,500 to 15,000 in the sky.They are large,billowing and mushroom like.They indicate showers or thunderstorms.

The Cumulus Clouds

They are the third higest in the atmosphere.They are 1500 to 600 meters up in the sky.They're puffy like cotton balls and mostly mean "fair weather"Sunny and calm.

The Stratus cloud

Stratus clouds are 0 to 1500 up in the sky.They are grayish with layers.They indicate rain or snow.They look thick from the ground

Wet stuff

Did you know that all types of precipitation is actually water? Snow is basicly ice crystals clustered together.Hail is just ice crystals blown around. Over and over again creating layers.Sleet is frozen rain.It is all water!

Rain and The Water Cycle

Rain forms when the clouds get so full of water vapor,they start to drop.In the form of droplets.In order to understand precipitation you need to understand The Water Cycle.The water cycle happens when water gets evaporated from the ground. Turns into water vapor then falls to the ground. The 3 words that will help you is evaporation, condensation and precipitation.


Snow happens when the rain freezes because it is so cold. It has to be under 32°F[0 C]for it to snow.That is called the frezing point. Snow is basicly ice crystals clustered together. Snow falls slow unlike rain.


Hail happens in heavy thunderstorms.The rain creartes hail the wind makes it ice and then the wind blows the hail back up in the air and then more rain freezes it,creating onion like layers.Soon it gets too heavy for the wind to carry it on.It falls to the ground.It could be as small as a marble or as big as a soft ball.


Sleet is also a water from. It happens when rain falls as ice and then falls though warm air, turns into rain. After that it falls through another layer of cold air.It refreezes and does not have time to cluster and form into snow flakes. It falls to the ground as ice.

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