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Crazy Clouds: Understanding Unusual Sky Formations


As many of us learned in school, there are 10 basic kinds of clouds: Cirrus, Cirrocumulus, Cirrostratus, Altocumulus, Altostratus, Nimbostratus, Cumulus, Cumulonimbus, Stratocumulus, and Stratus. In the past, we’ve offered guides to how astute weather watchers can use those basic cloud shapes to predict the weather. But every so often, Mother Nature throws a curveball. Some types of clouds just don’t seem to fit neatly into any of these categories, while others are just downright unusual. Here’s a quick guide to some of the most eye-catching and bizarre cloud formations out there, how they form, and what they might mean.

Anvil clouds: Anvil clouds are a subtype of cumulonimbus clouds that form a flat, anvil-shaped top. These are powerful thunderstorm clouds that can form dangerous supercell storms.

30 Responses

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    by Is Get The Girl Code Good on May 14, 2014 at 4:46 am

  2. Anvil Clouds are interesting, rarely will you see them in large cities maybe more out where the plains meet the mountain ridges. when these vapors of the warm winds reach the cool air of the mountain ridge; becomes dense causing it bellow as lets say smoke would, when it is moving through the atmosphere. These super-cell storms…I see them as the cloud, of all it make up of molecules, as before moving through these different atmospheres and when it is doing this generates static friction with the different molecules in the air space…I don’t know I just like clouds that all, thank you for listening

    by Jermaine Jackson on Oct 7, 2013 at 2:44 am

  3. Apart from chemtrails, which happen to have a specific type of formation, we should do a search for scalar weapons. These may have something to do with these most unusual formations. Anything new that occurs can always be given a name plus some sort of explanation. What’s in a name. It’s about time we have the truth.

    by Helene on Sep 25, 2013 at 10:00 pm

  4. CHEMTRAILS……..Look to the skies & do your homework, please……

    by Deborah on Sep 22, 2013 at 6:10 pm

  5. I like the photos, very interesting. My husband was interested in chem trails and cloud busting stuff, but these photos are so erie that they scare me a bit. (Sorry for the misspell)

    by audi a bit on Sep 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm

  6. a.hillman – These are all either public domain or Creative Commons photos. No one on our staff took them. Some of them only happen rarely, and/or in remote parts of the world.

    by Jaime McLeod on Sep 19, 2013 at 9:42 am

  7. Thank you for the scientific explanation on how these clouds are formed. The fact they are more commonly seen in recent years are indicative of geoengineering and weather modification using aluminum and barium based aerosol delivered from jet planes in conjunction with HAARP as well as other devices around the world. This is worth mentioning to the people. There was a geoengineering bill that was passed a few years ago now that is popularly unknown but remains public information. Please refer to that bill for the scientific information I am referring to regarding “geoengineering”. A simple internet search for the bill itself should illuminate the topic further for anyone who is interested.

    by Lani on Sep 19, 2013 at 9:39 am

  8. The longer pointed edge of an anvil cloud will indicate its direction of movement

    by Kevin on Sep 19, 2013 at 8:27 am

  9. All of the clouds that weather men are now having to explain to people did not exist just a few short years ago. The Geoengineering of our weather is wreaking havoc on the planet. Geoengineering is explained in this gov. document. Check out Chemtrail Global Skywatch. You tube Chemtrails. check out Solar Radiation Management.

    by Deborah Marlow on Sep 19, 2013 at 1:28 am

  10. So, how can we tell the difference between man-made clouds and natural ones? I notice the planes spraying them all the time, and I also notice that they burn my nose, eyes, and skin, unlike the natural clouds. I do wish that we could start to be told the truth about this, but it doesn’t seem to be happening.

    by Joanna on Sep 19, 2013 at 12:29 am

  11. these clouds that I seen had letter JC what dose that mean?
    in Alberta Canada

    by marshall on Sep 18, 2013 at 6:30 pm

  12. Two cloud formations that really impressed me were Mammatus clouds & Lenticular clouds. After my friends & I chased a super cell thunder storm, we were stunned observing mammatus clouds for about 25 miles on our return trip from the chase. When I visited out west, I had my one & only view of a Lenticular cloud. It was impressive!

    by Michael Amato on Sep 18, 2013 at 3:09 pm

  13. Are the pictures on a “pay for “site such as I stock or personal photos.

    by a.hillman on Sep 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm

  14. I agree, your never explained what the clouds (in picture post) mean..what type of weather is coming. The rest is informative. Thank you

    by Elaine Copeland on Sep 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm

  15. Very interesting. Learned something new today. Thanks.

    by Helen on Sep 18, 2013 at 2:27 pm

  16. Anita,
    It’s standard in WordPress for mobile optimized sites to only display feature images for faster load times. However, I believe we now have this sorted out, and the pics should be appearing for mobile.

    by Jaime McLeod on Sep 18, 2013 at 2:12 pm

  17. You never said anything about these new cloud formations being caused from the chemtrails that is going on periodically in our skies. People need to be told the truth.

    by i johnson on Sep 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm

  18. This was very interesting and I love the pictures! Thanks

    by Patsy on Sep 18, 2013 at 12:58 pm

  19. I found the information about the clouds very interesting and it was something I didn’t know anything about. So thanks with sharing the information that any age group could learn from !

    by Donald adams on Sep 18, 2013 at 12:28 pm

  20. Beautiful! You just can’t find better than Mother Nature. Let us hope She survives us.

    by Cynthia on Sep 18, 2013 at 12:12 pm

  21. Very interesting Never knew there were so many formations

    by Jan Dittloff on Sep 18, 2013 at 10:47 am

  22. Very interesting. It would be nice, though, to have pictures of these cloud formations on your mobile site.

    by Anita B. on Sep 18, 2013 at 10:40 am

  23. Makes one feel very small, doesn’t it?

    by Deanna Bahr on Sep 18, 2013 at 10:40 am

  24. So when we see these weird looking clouds , we can be glad to know that they’re a natural phenomenon, they have names, and not create by anything like “HAARP”!

    by Marie on Sep 18, 2013 at 10:12 am

  25. Hi Bill, There are photos for every cloud type listed here. If you are looking on a smart-phone, switch to our non-mobile site.

    by Jaime McLeod on Sep 18, 2013 at 9:37 am

  26. Catherine – there are photos. If you are looking on a smart-phone, switch to our non-mobile site.

    by Jaime McLeod on Sep 18, 2013 at 9:35 am

  27. Hello,
    My 9yr old Grandson is totally obsessed with cloud formations and weather, do you have any pictured information that you could send to help him in this catagory

    by Bill Ryan on Sep 18, 2013 at 9:25 am

  28. Are shelf clouds and wall clouds the same? I’ve heard of wall clouds being the leading edge of a storm, but hadn’t heard the term shelf clouds before.

    by Vicki on Sep 18, 2013 at 9:05 am

  29. Photos with examples of cloud formations would be nice!

    by Catherine on Sep 18, 2013 at 9:04 am


    by JAN on Sep 16, 2013 at 8:29 am

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