- Cumulus Clouds are low hanging and don't form higher than about 3800 feet
- They mean little to no precipitation.
- To identify one, it has a flat bottom and a very puffball looking shape.
The altostratus clouds are very thin and you can usually see the sun through them. They form between 6500-20000 feet. We get a lot of these clouds in Colorado Springs due to our altitude. It can mean light showers of rain in thicker parts of the cloud. If the rain is persistent, it changes classification into nimbostratus clouds.
These clouds can lead to very intense precipitation and thunder storms, they form between 6500-60000 feet. They are very large and tall in height. They can be associated with atmospheric instability and form from water vapor and strong winds.
- They form at very high altitude (16000-39000 feet)
- Only precipitation is virga (evaporates before it hits the ground)
- Can also indicate a storm in about 10 hours
The most common form of high-level clouds are thin and often wispy cirrus clouds. Typically found at heights greater than 20,000 feet, cirrus clouds are composed of ice crystals that originate from the freezing of super-cooled water droplets.