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Cloud Types

There are ten types of clouds. Some clouds bring fair weather while others can deliver severe weather. Anyone who spends time watching the sky can determine the type of clouds present.

Altocumulus clouds


Altocumulus clouds belong to the cumulus group. These clouds can cover all or just a portion of the sky. They appear as groups of ripples or bumps.

Altostratus clouds


While the sun is visible through altostratus clouds, they appear with a grey shade and can cover some or all of the sky.


These clouds are white or pale grey. The sun is visible through these clouds.

Cirrocumulus  clouds


These clouds are white or pale grey and can cover some or all of the sky. The sun is visible through these clouds.

Cirrostratus clouds


Cirrus clouds are one of the most identifiable clouds. They appear wispy and form high in the sky. They are made of ice crystals.

Cirrus clouds

Cumulus and Cumulonimbus

Cumulus clouds are perhaps the most well-known type of could. These clouds are typically seen on summer days and appear puffy. They typically have a flat base.

The clouds pictured here are cumulus humilis clouds, these clouds have little vertical development.

Cumulus humilis clouds

While most cumulus clouds do not produce precipitation, some can grow into towering cumulus clouds or cumulonimbus clouds. Cumulonimbus clouds can produce severe weather. On a hot summer day, if you see cumulus clouds developing vertically, there could be thunderstorms developing.


Nimbostratus clouds cover the whole sky and are dark. Precipitation is common from these clouds.

Nimbostratus clouds


Stratocumulus clouds cover the sky. These clouds have defined shapes.

Stratocumulus clouds


Stratus clouds are grey clouds that cover the whole sky and blocks the sun.

Stratus clouds
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