What Are Cumulus, Stratus and Cirrus Clouds?

Cumulus clouds are detached clouds seen on sunny days, stratus clouds are gray, thick and cause drizzle and cirrus clouds are wispy, thin clouds composed of ice crystals. Each type of cloud has unique characteristics regarding its appearance, behavior and formation.

Cumulus clouds are a bright white color with dark bases. They are present in the morning, but come the evening hours, they begin to dissolve.

Stratus clouds have a uniform shape and gray coloration. When they are thick enough, they can cause light precipitation. They have a height of up to 6,500 feet.

Cirrus clouds resemble transparent white patches. They are seen in the early morning and late evening hours, and are commonly colored by the sun due to their thinness.