Few things are as much fun to watch as clouds.
Some of my earliest childhood memories involve lying on the grass in front of the farmhouse with mom and my sister, Monique. We could spend hours looking for shapes in the passing clouds. It was such a fun game. Some days there seemed to be all kinds of dogs drifting by; other days we were sure there were angels with huge billowy wings looking down on us. Every now and again, we saw faces in the clouds.
There are all types of clouds out there, and while they can be quite intriguing all year long, kids seem to love the summertime puffiness of the cumulus clouds.
Grandma didn’t play the “cloud game” with us, but she didn’t ignore the clouds either. She could tell what kind of weather was coming by the height of the clouds. She would say, “the higher the cloud, the better the weather.” She was right.
Clouds have always played a big part in short-term weather forecasting. When the air is dry, the condensation level is higher off the ground than it would be if the air was muggy, so the base or bottom of the cloud forms higher in the sky. Dry air comes with a fair weather system.
The opposite is also true. When the air is humid, the condensation level is low and clouds form closer to the ground. Humid air moves in ahead of rain or snow. So, before you head out in the canoe or take the kids for a hike, a quick cloud check might not be a bad idea.
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Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.