What are the different types of clouds?

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BRIDGEPORT, W. Va (WDTV) - Have you ever looked up at the sky and wondered why the clouds look different on certain days? Well, that has to do with how the clouds are formed. To put it very simply, clouds develop from the process of changing moisture from a gas to a liquid.

We categorize clouds by their shapes and heights in the sky.

First we will discuss the different shape categories for clouds.

Cirrus clouds are thin and whispy clouds.
Stratus clouds suggests sheets or layers
Cumulus indicated heaped or piled clouds

High clouds or "cirrus" clouds are typically thin and can reach heights up to 20,000 feet above the ground. Some examples of high clouds are cirrus, cirrostratus, and cirrocumulus.

Midlevel clouds form anywhere from 6,000 to 20,000 ft. These "atlo-" clouds usually form ahead of a storm that will bring continuous rain or snow. Examples of midlevel clouds are altostratus and altocumulus.

Low-level clouds form below 6,000 ft. These are the clouds that bring you continuous rain or snow or are the fair weather fluffy clouds you see on a nice day. Examples are stratus, cumulous , stratocumulus, and nimbostratus.

There are also clouds with great vertical development called cumulonimbus clouds. These clouds can rise to 60,000 feet or more. They are associated with thunderstorms that can produce severe weather such as hail, lightning, and tornadoes.

Clouds can tell us a lot about the current weather and even the approaching weather.