Ask Storm Team 11: How can I forecast rain by just looking at the clouds?

Ask Storm Team 11

Today’s Ask the Storm Question was submitted by David Frost. He asks, “How can I forecast rain by just looking at the clouds?”

During our typical year-round pattern, we can start by looking at the clouds in the upper levels. Cirrus clouds are a good indicator that moisture is increasing in the upper levels and our next weather-maker is on the way. Next you’ll notice an increase in moisture in the mid-levels of the atmosphere, clouds here are called stratus clouds. Lastly, cumulus clouds will form in the lower levels and begin to produce rain!

During the summer time, things can be a little different. With the heating of the surface during the day, and the lift of air due to the mountains, warm air will rise leading to formation of cumulus clouds. These clouds can build over 10,000 feet! Eventually becoming a cumulonimbus clouds producing thunder, lightning and heavy rain.

The tornado-warned storm our area experienced  a few weeks ago is a great example of a very strong, mature thunderstorm. You can see in the viewer video the bubbling and towering of this cumulonimbus cloud! 

Have a question for Storm Team 11? Submit here: https://www.wjhl.com/ask-storm-team-11/

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