Beginners Guides:

Cirrocumulus: Look like rippled sand. An omen of fair weather, they usually follow a storm and dissipate to leave a clear sky. Height: 3-5 miles.
Altocumulus: Fair-weather clouds, generally on a larger scale than cirrocumulus, thicker, not as white, and with shadows in them. Usually appear after a storm at a height of 1-4 miles.
Cumulonimbus: Low thunder clouds. Dark and menacing, with the top flattening out in an anvil shape. Brings hail, strong winds, thunder and lightning. They can cause false cirrus (above) and false nimbostratus (below). These clouds are 1-6 miles in altitude. These are the normal storm clouds.
Cumulus: Easily recognisable fluffy white clouds. Usually indicate fair weather when widely spaced, but when large and close they are capable of producing short spells of heavy rain. Height of 1.5 miles or less. These are the normal fair-weather clouds.

Cirrus: High, wispy clouds formed from ice crystals which give them a white colour. Only seen in fine weather, at an altitude of 3-6 miles.
Cirrostratus: Similar to Cirrus, these clouds often produce a halo around the sun or moon. These clouds are an indication that rain could be on the way. Height: 3-5.5 miles.
Altostratus: Form a greyish veil across the sky. These clouds will turn to darker Nimbostratus just before rain. Height of 1.5-4 miles. These are the normal overcast clouds.
Nimbostratus: Form low, dark blankets, which signal imminent rain, usually lasting several hours. Height: 1-3 miles. These are the normal rain clouds.
Stratocumulus: Form a low, lumpy mass of cloud, but often thin enough to allow sunlight through. Though rain may precipitate, they often dissapear in the afternoon to leave a clear night. Below 1.5 miles.
Stratus: These clouds are hill fog and are very low. They are wet but rarely produce rain. When they form overnight and in the morning they usually leave a fine, clear day. Below 1.5 miles. These clouds are often described as fog.

This guide is by Ian Renton.



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