Using Clouds to Predict the Weather

We surface observers admire clouds for their beauty, but clouds are more than just pretty puffs. In fact, clouds can help you predict upcoming weather. Look out for these eight cloud types next time you're out backpacking or boating to avoid being caught off guard by a "sudden" rainfall or thunderstorm. 

Cumulus Clouds: All Is Fair

Cumulus clouds are most noticeable for their fluffy white appearance. These low-level clouds typically form on sunny days as the sun heats the ground and warms the air. 

Cirrus clouds all is fair for now

Isolated cirrus occur in fair weather. Because they point in the direction of air movement.

Altostratus Clouds: Expect Light Rain

Altostratus clouds are mid-level, flat clouds that appear as gray or blueish-gray clouds expanding across the sky. .

Altocumulus Clouds: Warm With a Risk of Storms

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Cirrostratus Cloud moisture moving in

Cirrostratus indicate a large amount of moisture in the upper atmosphere

Stratus clouds: Fog & mist

Stratus clouds are very low forming, gray clouds

Cumulonimbus Storms on there way 

Just like you see a cumulus cloud and know it means fair weather, cumulonimbus mean the weather is stormy.

Nimbostratus: Rain please go away!!

Nimbostratus are low-level, dark clouds that usually prevent you from seeing the sun. These shape-less clouds often blanket the entire sky making for a gloomy day.

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