A Sky Guide to Clouds: Their Types and Formation

Cirrus Clouds: Wispy, high-altitude clouds composed of ice crystals, often indicating fair weather but also associated with approaching storms.

Cumulus Clouds: Puffy, white clouds with a flat base, typically indicating fair weather. However, larger cumulus clouds can develop into storm clouds.

Stratus Clouds: Low-altitude clouds forming in uniform layers, often covering the sky like a blanket. Stratus clouds may bring light rain or drizzle.

Cumulonimbus Clouds: Towering clouds with a flat anvil-shaped top, capable of producing thunderstorms, heavy rain, and severe weather.

Altostratus Clouds: Mid-altitude clouds that cover the sky in a gray or blue-gray layer, often preceding storms with continuous rain or snow.

Altocumulus Clouds: White or gray clouds forming a layer at mid-altitudes, often indicating a change in weather, but not typically associated with precipitation.

Stratocumulus Clouds: Low, lumpy clouds covering the sky, often appearing in patches. They may bring light precipitation or drizzle.

Nimbostratus Clouds: Thick, dark clouds covering the sky and bringing continuous, steady precipitation, often associated with overcast conditions.

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