Precipitation occurs when moist air rises to cooler altitudes, condensing the water out of the air into droplets. Once these droplets become heavy enough, often by coalescing around motes of dust or other particles, they fall out of the cloud as precipitation. Without significant updrafts bringing more moisture to the cloud layer, the condensed water may remain light enough to stay aloft, which is why not every cloud brings rain.Continue Reading
Rain clouds may form in a variety of meteorological conditions. Commonly, they occur across frontal boundaries, where a mass of warm air is forced upward by a cold front, pushing a large amount of moisture into the upper atmosphere. This is the cause of long, soaking rains due to the sheer amount of condensation produced by the updrafts. Air masses may also be pushed upward by topographic features like mountains, producing rain on the lee side of these geologic features.
Another type of rain is produced when the sun's heating creates a convective current in the atmosphere. This energy heats the air near the ground, causing it and its moisture to rise in a relatively small area. This pattern tends to create small, isolated showers that can be extremely vigorous but may not move quickly, a common weather pattern in the summer months.Learn more about Clouds
Cirrus clouds are made up of ice crystals that form when supercooled water droplets freeze. These wispy and thin clouds are usually at elevations higher than 20,000 feet and are created from other clouds that go through a process called glaciation. Cirrus clouds appear in a number of shapes and sizes and are commonly seen in areas with fair weather.Full Answer >
Rain clouds form when clusters of water droplets and crystallized, frozen water accumulate at high altitudes, and gravity causes this condensed water to fall as rain. The average size of one of these cloud droplets is miniscule, but if the droplets contain enough water, white clouds turn into rain clouds. The influence of gravity causes a droplet to turn into a raindrop and fall to earth.Full Answer >
Rain is the result of water droplets gathering together in clouds and gravity causing the water droplets to fall as rain. Warm air has more water droplets than cold air.Full Answer >
Most commonly, rain clouds that produce a steady rain are referred to as nimbostratus clouds. These clouds appear low in the sky and are a medium to dark gray color. Sometimes stratus clouds are associated with a light drizzle.Full Answer >