Identifying the types of Cloud present

Clouds and Precipitation

Identifying the type of precipitation falling from a cloud can help identify the type of cloud present and vice versa. The following table summarises the associated precipitation for each cloud type.

In interpreting this table, the precipitation types listed indicate what the cloud is capable of producing. It must be remembered that some of the clouds that are capable of producing precipitation rarely ever do so; or that a particular species of a cloud genera may not give precipitation but another species of the same genera will.

Cloud

Associated Precipitation

Cirrus

Nil

Cirrostratus

Nil

Cirrocumulus

Nil

Altocumulus

Nil, unless castellanus; then light showers of rain or snow

Altostratus

Rain or snow or ice pellets

Nimbostratus

Rain or snow or ice pellets

Stratus

Drizzle or snow or snow grains

Stratocumulus

Rain or snow, of very light intensity; or drizzle

Cumulus

Showers of: rain or snow

Towering Cumulus

Showers of: rain, snow or snow pellets

Cumulonimbus

Showers of: rain, small hail, hail, snow or snow pellets