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The different meaning of clouds

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 4:53 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Clouds are returning to the local forecast, and each of these clouds have different different meanings. But what are they?

From the thick and puffy ones, to the thin and wispy ones, clouds are a part of our everyday lives. But these tiny suspended water droplets in the sky can tell you a lot more about the weather than just “it’ll be cloudy outside.”

While the different cloud types do tell you different things about what’s going on in the atmosphere, some of them have multiple meanings.

This is especially true with the three cirrus clouds, altostratus clouds and the stratus clouds. What this could mean, especially with the stratus clouds, is that there’s a lot of sinking motion in the low, mid, and upper levels of the atmosphere. But, this could mean another thing, and that could mean a warm front is approaching.

One way you could tell this is if the cirrus clouds start out becoming thicker and thicker as you go throughout the day, eventually down to stratus clouds. This could mean rain is coming, warmer temperatures are coming, and potentially some bad weather later on in the day.

Now the rest of the clouds are pretty straightforward. Altocumulus clouds means there’s a little bit of upward motion in the mid levels with some moisture. Stratocumulus mean the same thing, just a little bit lower in the atmosphere and cumulus clouds just means there’s a little but of upward motion in the atmosphere.

They could also mean there’s thunderstorms happening later on in the day. All the clouds mentioned earlier are not precipitation producing. In fact only two types of clouds produce precipitation. Nimbostratus clouds produce rain or snow or anything you don’t see in thunderstorms. while cumulonimbus clouds produce rain, hail sometimes even damaging wind gusts under the right conditions

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