Ask Storm Team 11: How do clouds form?

Weather

Tuesday’s Ask Storm Team 11 question was: “How do clouds form?”

Clouds contain water droplets or ice crystals so in general the first thing you need is water vapor. A lot of the water you get in the air is caused by evaporation. From there, the sun helps to warm the ground and the air just above it. That warm air rises since it’s less dense than the surrounding air.

Eventually, the air gets cooler as it goes up, and it can’t hold as much water so the water vapor condenses on little particles in the air. In other words, moisture gets squeezed out, and a cloud forms.  

There are other ways clouds can form as well. Our mountainous terrain plays a role. When wind blows over the side of a mountain, the air is forced to go up. Even along a cold front or warm front, you can get extra lift to produce more clouds.

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