Thomas

Home/Thomas

About Thomas

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Thomas has created 266 blog entries.
16 07, 2019

Drought Crisis: No Water By Christmas For Some Towns!

2019-07-17T17:23:53+10:00

The drought is taking a turn for the worse, as horrific conditions continue to create heartbreak for many towns across New South Wales & Queensland in particular. A scary prospect for 10 individual towns though, is the thought that with how things are going, there will be no water left AT ALL… some face this prospect by Christmas 2019.

 

 

Local Government NSW president Linda Scott has stated in blunt but very real terms – several regional cities and towns are now facing the prospect of a ‘day zero’ for water – i.e. no more water left at all. Some of these towns will face it within 12 months, others within 3 to 6 months and it wouldn’t be a shock for some to run out in just weeks. The only way for water to reach these towns is through bores which are drying up, or water trucks which have to endure several hundred kilometre long tracks to reach various towns.

 

Local dam photo near Tenterfield via “My Notes From New England

 

Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Tracy Dobie has stated its the worst drought the region has ever had. It hasn’t rained for some towns across the region in over 2 years (thats rain that is beneficial, not just a passing shower that barely wets the ground). Summer storms are becoming more and more hit and miss as well which is adding insult to injury during the hot Summer months. 

The 10 towns facing this ordeal include:
• Tenterfield, NSW
• Armidale, NSW
• Tamworth, NSW
• Stanthorpe, QLD
• Warwick, QLD
• Dubbo, NSW
• Orange, NSW
• Narromine, NSW
• Cobar, NSW
• Nyngan, NSW

 

Dry dam near Ballandean, QLD (Darling Downs). Image via Kym Dachs

 

Warwick: The town itself since 2017 hasn’t done “too badly” for rain. 2017 and 2018 combined were near average for rainfall, however 2019 has been harsh with just 25% of the annual rainfall to July being observed. Further major problems are coming out of Warwick with Leslie Dam suffering at almost single digit percentage for capacity. Warwick is an anomaly on the list with about 18 months left of water… but even that is horrid. 

 

QLD Drought situation via BOM from January 2018 to June 2019

 

 

Stanthorpe: Similarly to Warwick, Stanthorpe has been near average or on the drier side of average over the past few years. Its 2019 that is being harsh with just 27% of the normal rainfall being observed, and only about 10% of the normal January / February rainfall was observed. Stanthorpe is in a horrible situation where its possible the town may run out of water by Christmas 2019. 

Tenterfield: Tenterfield has seen below average rainfall for the past 8 years, with several years being up to 25-30% below normal. Over the past 18 months (since the start of January 2018), the town has barely received 50% of its normal rainfall for that period. The local dam is sitting at 32%, but its not a big dam – so while the percentage isn’t dramatic – the overall scenario is. The town is pumping bore water but they believe it has less than 200 days before the bore is run dry – 2 days of pumping is worth 1 day of town usage. Its estimated that Tenterfield will need 1400 B-double trucks worth of water per month to remain at par. 

Across the other locations listed… Over the past 8 years, rainfall totals have been mostly below average apart from a good year in 2016 where all locations were at or above average. All locations have also suffered more intensely over the past 18 months with around 50% of their normal rainfall occurring during that time along with several failed Summer’s in a row. All locations are also situated in areas that suffer badly during Summer from heatwaves, meaning any passing showers are useless, and Winter frosts typically cause more harm than good. All locations listed due to the extremely dry conditions will likely suffer black frost during the Winter of 2019 that will kill any crops (if there are any that are alive, after many failed harvesting seasons in a row). 

 

NSW Drought situation via BOM from January 2018 to June 2019

 

 

Council is in a discussion with the State government to help fund $3.2million towards the search for new bores. This theoretically will only help in the short term though, as the speed these towns are running out of water at will mean any new bores found will soon become a casualty to the drought as well. All towns listed are also on heavy water restrictions, some the worst ever. For places like Stanthorpe and Tenterfield, they were unfortunately at a greater disadvantage as well, with larger towns in similar circumstances surrounding them – they’ve essentially become the nucleus of the greater crisis. Its been estimated that it would cost around $1million per month to cart water from Warwick to Stanthorpe. Thats all well and good though, but the 18 month deadline for Warwick will then become 12 months, then 6 months and while Stanthorpe plateau’s… Warwick runs out. Then Stanthorpe is in a world of pain themselves. 

 

 

Locations like Orange that are included in the list, are in a slightly more different scenario. As the town has storm water harvesting available and a water pipeline, it has a little more breathing room – but even then the worst case scenario is 12-18 months before day zero occurs. Guyra is currently carting water in, but Armidale and Tamworth are in horrible circumstances. Glen Innes is “okay” for now, but with all towns surrounding them in horrible situations – its only a matter of time. 

While people in better off situations sit at home and ponder how they can help. Its been urged to continue with tourism to these towns. There is plenty to do in several towns on a weekend, from a weather perspective there is also the potential for some snow chases or even a frost chase if youre game enough. What these little trips do is help supply the town with tourism money. It may only be a little, but when these towns rely on farming and agriculture and they’ve suffered through bushfires, storm damage and now a slow painful drought… they source of relevance and purpose becomes vulnerable. Adding some tourism money can soften the onslaught they are currently enduring. It will also allow many city people who aren’t used to these conditions, a chance to see reality. There can only be so many drought campaigns that happen. We at Higgins Storm Chasing have conducted many, however the continuous (albeit slow) cash flow and sustainability will need to come from tourism where people visit attractions, landmarks or even do small camping trips (including weather chasing) and inject revenue back into the towns. 

 

Local dam near Ballandean, Southern Darling Downs / Granite Belt. Image via Jude McGovern

 

Drought Crisis: No Water By Christmas For Some Towns!2019-07-17T17:23:53+10:00
16 07, 2019

Partial Lunar Eclipse for Australia on Wednesday Morning

2019-07-16T18:05:58+10:00

Issued Tuesday, July 16th 2019. Australia is expected to experience a partial lunar eclipse during Wednesday morning, giving some reward to those who are willing to brave the cold to watch the phenomenon, and some reward for those who have a tedious winter morning school run.

 

CLICK HERE FOR COLD TEMPERATURE BLOG FOR WEDNESDAY MORNING.

A partial lunar eclipse is when the Earth passes between the sun and a full moon, but they don’t precisely align. When they precisely align, thats when a full lunar eclipse occurs, however in this scenario only part of the moon turns a reddish hue. A lunar eclipse (or partial eclipse in this regard) can last for as long as 3 and a half hours, however this one for Australia will be lasting a little over 60mins over Eastern areas and between 2 and 3 hours over Central and Western parts of the Country.

 

 

Unfortunately for those in Southern & South East South Australia, Southern & elevated parts of NSW, much of Victoria and the entirety of Tasmania – heavy cloud coverage is expected to hinder the viewing process during Wednesday morning. Eastern & Northern NSW, large parts of QLD, the NT and WA as well as Northern SA should be much clearer and these areas will be the most ideal for viewing. 

 

Forecast cloud coverage via Windy for 6am Wednesday July 17th morning.

 


Viewing times:

• Brisbane 6:01am to 7:38am (clear skies expected)
• Sydney 6:01am to 7:02am (clear skies expected)
• Canberra 6:01am to 7:14am (50/50 chance for viewing)
• Melbourne 6:01am to 7:38am (if cloud wasn’t around)
• Hobart 6:01am to 7:44am (if cloud wasn’t around)
• Adelaide 5:31am to 7:27am (if close wasn’t around)
• Darwin 5:31am to 7:13am (good views expected)
• 
Perth 4:01am to 6:59am (clear skies)

 

Times for Partial Eclipse via 7 News

 

Partial Lunar Eclipse for Australia on Wednesday Morning2019-07-16T18:05:58+10:00
14 07, 2019

Cumulonimbus Clouds & Their Features

2019-07-14T13:07:14+10:00

Cumulonimbus clouds are considered the absolute kings of the cloud world. Cumulonimbus clouds are commonly known as thunderstorm clouds, and while the bases of these clouds sit between 1,100 and 6,500ft usually.. they are the ONLY cloud in the world that takes up the entirety of the atmosphere. In fact, on rare occasions they can grow high enough to push through the troposphere into the stratosphere – they are the only cloud which has the capabilities to do this. However, they often hit the top of the troposphere and then spread outwards producing a large anvil cloud. They can sometimes also be referred to as thunderclouds, thunderheads of or thunderstorms. 

Anvil cloud associated with a cumulonimbus cloud over Africa. Image via NASA

 

These types of clouds produce the heaviest and fiercest precipitation on planet Earth which can include heavy to even torrential rainfall which may lead to flash flooding or river flooding, hailstones which can become extremely large along with non-precipitation features such as thunder and lightning. The bases of these clouds is usually flat, but can be extremely well defined and may only lie a few hundred feet above the surface in the nastiest of circumstances. 

Wall cloud captured by NZP Chasers

 

Cumulonimbus clouds develop through convection and often begin their life as innocent white fluffy puffs known as cumulus clouds which sit in the low levels of the atmosphere. As the heating of the day progresses and moisture remains or increases with temperature, the capping inversion above the surface of the earth dissipates or breaks, and allows the cumulus clouds to grow into towering cumulonimbus clouds. All the energy and power stored inside them then drives them to potentially last for several hours at a time where they can produce some of the most dangerous weather on Earth.

Cumulus field over the Arizona Mountains via Marc Cooper

 

 

As stated above, cumulonimbus clouds can produce heavy to torrential rainfall which may lead to both flash and river flooding. They can also produce hailstones, which can often reach up to the size of baseballs or softballs during the peak of the United States storm season and tennis balls or greater in the Australian storm season. They can also produce dangerous, very frequent lightning, damaging to destructive winds, deafening thunder and in the harshest of circumstances… tornadoes. While most cells less between 30 and 60 minutes, some can last more than 10-12hrs. Regardless of the duration, any cumulonimbus cloud has the potential in the right circumstances to become a danger. Some of these can be single cellular which last for a shorter duration of time, while others can become multicellular which can last for a much longer period of time. The longest form of these is typically a supercell thunderstorm which has the capabilities of producing destructive to very destructive winds, giant to monster size hailstones, torrential rainfall and tornadoes.

 

Tornado in Eastern Colorado captured by HSC Admin Thomas in June 2015


Cumulonimbus clouds can be categorised into 3 different types of clouds, and while each has its own individual characteristic which separates it from the rest… they all come from the same base mechanics which make them part of the cumulonimbus family. These categories are Calvus, Capillatus and Incus.

  • Cumulonimbus Calvus: The tops of these clouds are quite puffy like cumulus clouds. The water droplets at the top of the cloud however have not become frozen.

  • Cumulonimbus Capillatus: The top of these clouds are typically fibrous, but relatively contained. Water droplets have started to freeze and usually indicate that precipitation has either begun or will begin shortly.

  • Cumulonimbus Incus: The top of the cloud is both fibrous and anvil shaped as the cloud continues to grow it reaches the top of the troposphere and is forced to grow outwards rather than upwards. This creates the anvil-shaped appearance.

    Cumulonimbus calvus, with probable cumulonimbus incus in background

Cumulonimbus Clouds & Their Features2019-07-14T13:07:14+10:00
14 07, 2019

What Are Waterspouts?

2019-07-14T12:48:56+10:00

Waterspouts are some of the more iconic marine severe weather phenomenons as they have the ability to develop under any weather conditions as long as the localised environment is favourable for them, they have the ability to be quite large and quite small and they also have the ability to develop as families and move over land causing damage.

 

 

Waterspouts are considered to be part of the microscale of the weather world as the environment in general that they develop in can be extremely small (less than 2km) compared to thunderstorm and supercells which are much larger and cyclones which are even larger. They can develop under any circumstances as long as the environment is supportive of their development, so this means they can form from cumulus clouds, cumulonimbus thunderstorm clouds or supercell thunderstorms. The majority of waterspouts are weak by nature and produce damage that may not even rate on the Enhanced Fujita Scale (below EF-0). Some however can become tornadic and extremely dangerous. They typically develop in heavily saturated environments where low level shear is producing enough rotation for the vortex to develop. Its not considered uncommon for several waterspouts to occur simultaneously, unlike tornadoes. Lake Michigan currently holds the visual record of 9 occurring at once in a single photo, however more may have occurred at other times but not seen. 

 

Twin waterspouts over Lake Michigan. Image via Office Mike Madsen

 

Quadruple waterspouts captured over the Adriatic Sea off Albania. Image via Robert Giudici in August 1999

 

 

Waterspouts have a distinct life cycle pattern which is unique to them and is constant for their existence. Firstly a prominent light coloured area appears on the surface of the water and this becomes surrounded by a much darker region. These coloured regions then begin to develop spirals on top of the surface of the water. Sea spray caused by the spirals and invisible tube then develop what can be loosely described as an eye. Eventually a funnel cloud will appear at the base of the cloud from which its originating and this funnel may connect with the activity occurring at the surface or it may remain “disconnected”. The final stage is when the vortex then weakens and begins to dissipate, normally the funnel will weaken first and then the spiral banding (basically in reverse order of how it developed). 

 

Illustration of a waterspout lifecycle and structures

 

Waterspouts, as part of the tornado family, are the only “species” of the family that can be labelled as tornadic or non-tornadic. Dust devils are non-tornadic, tornadoes are obviously tornadic and landspouts are non-tornadic… if they were tornadic then they would be straight out tornadoes. Both types form under different circumstances.

  • Non-Tornadic: These waterspouts are not associated with a rotating mesocyclone / supercell thunderstorm. This is the most common type of waterspout and can often occur under fair weather conditions. This is also weaker of the two types. Florida Keys in the United States sees on average the most per year, with up to 400… however this type of waterspout is most common generally in tropical and sub-tropical climates. One of its features is that it moves quite slowly.

     

    A large waterspout (non-tornadic) over the Florida Keys. Image via Dr. Joseph Golden in September 1969.

     

  • Tornadic: Yes, waterspouts are by definition tornadoes, but you can actually have a tornadic waterspout. This is one that develops with a mesocyclone present and can become very dangerous. Its essentially the same as a tornado over land… just its over water. This type of waterspout is much faster moving and can become a catastrophic danger to vessels or infrastructure out at sea. These types of waterspouts are more common through the Adriatic, Aegean and Ionian sea regions as the bulk of their thunderstorm and mesocyclone action occurs near the Coast or over open waters.

 

Waterspout spawned from a supercell (tornadic waterspout) observed off Sydney (during the Sydney to Hobart yacht race) in December 2001. Image via S. Golden


A common question is what can these things do to marine life. There have been many accounts across the globe where people have accurately recalled raining fish. The good thing for marine life is a waterspout will have to directly move over the top of it for any consequences to occur, the bad thing is though marine life often gets sucked up. Fish can become elevated in the clouds (not just in the vortex) and its not until the fish become too heavy for the updraft (kind of like hail) that they fall back down to Earth.. sometimes over landmass rather than water. 

 

What Are Waterspouts?2019-07-14T12:48:56+10:00
12 07, 2019

International Space Station Forecast To Track In front Of The Moon

2019-07-12T16:53:00+10:00

The International Space Station is forecast to move over Eastern Australia tonight (July 12th), giving SOME people the chance to observe it. For others though, it will be unfortunately too cloud, thanks to the snow system across the South East of the Country. This passover will also allow a rare opportunity for the space station to fly directly in front of the moon – giving a great opportunity for those who don’t blink, a chance to witness the phenomenon. The blue line on the cover image (base image via ISS Transit Finder) shows the exact track the ISS is currently expected to take, it will vary slightly, but the ISS is visible from great distances. 

 

 

The ISS is expected to move directly over Western and North West VIC at 6:25pm, directly over Southern & Central Inland NSW at 6:26pm, Northern & North East NSW at 6:27pm and South East QLD at 6:28pm. If you are in one of the following towns then there is a chance that the ISS will pass directly in front of the moon from your viewing point – (QLD) Gold Coast / Gold Coast Hinterland (NSW) Bonalbo, Deepwater, Glen Innes, Upper Manilla, Gunnedah, Dunedoo, Dubbo, Peak Hill, NW of West Wyalong, Darlington Point, Griffith (VIC) Kerang, Charlton.  It would be advised that you are outside at least 5 to 10 minutes prior to the forecast times, just in case there are any very slight changes. 

 

 

Unfortunately, thick cloud coverage is expected across the majority of VIC, large parts of Southern, Central and Western NSW thanks to an upper trough and associated cloud mass moving across the region. Clearer skies are expected over Eastern NSW (East of the Ranges), Northern NSW, Southern Inland and South East QLD which will make for great viewing… however there is a slight chance that some cloud further North in QLD may make viewing hit and miss (as indicated by the cover image). 

 

Cloud cover for 6pm via Windy showing thick cloud over VIC, and half of NSW, clearer skies over Southern QLD and Northern / Eastern NSW

 

 

Don’t worry – if you miss tonight’s viewing, there is a chance tomorrow again as the ISS passes overhead once more, with cloud conditions expected to greatly change. 

Some ISS Facts:

• It travels at 27,600km/h or 276 x faster than a car going along the highway!
• It orbits around the earth 15.5 times a day, or once every 92 minutes! 
• It weighs 419 tons or equivalent to 279 family cars!
• The ISS is bigger than a football field – 108 meters wide x 72 meters long! 
• It has orbited the world over 100,000 times! 
• It flies between 330km & 435km above the earth and falls closer to the earth by 2km every month!

 

Actual photo of the International Space Station via NASA

 

 

International Space Station Forecast To Track In front Of The Moon2019-07-12T16:53:00+10:00
8 07, 2019

22 Degree Halo (Sun & Moon)

2019-07-08T02:44:34+10:00

22 degree halo’s, or what they are more commonly described as… sun / moon halo, are much more common than people realise and also spark interest when they appear. 22 degree halo’s are optical phenomenons which is derived from the family of ice crystal halos. They form a ring around both the sun and moon at a radius of approximately 22º from either one. While its occurrence with the sun is typically just called a sun halo, the moon version can also be called a winter halo (as well as a moon halo) due to the more likely time for it to occur at night is during winter. 

 

22 degree halo’s typically form from the sun or moon refracting light into millions of minuscule, tiny hexagonal shaped crystals floating in the upper atmosphere. While they generally will only ever occur on fine days or clear nights, the presence of some cloud cover (mostly cirrostratus cloud) can help indicate the presence of a halo. Even if the sky appears completely clear, cirrostratus cloud can be so fine and thin that the simple art of seeing a halo resembles the presence of the cloud. 

 

Sun halo captured over the Sunshine Coast by Jeff Higgins

 

Despite it being one of the most common types of halo (occurring up to 100 times a year), the ironic thing is, its a circular halo shape which is created and solely responsible by hexagonal ice crystals. The exact shape of these ice crystals is still debatable, even to this day, but scientists for now believe they are most likely hexagonal and the prism shape of them is what helps bend the light. The other conclusion which is possible is bullet-shaped clusters of ice crystals… but the exact shape isn’t really necessary for us at this stage, the end process is that its still light refracting through ice crystals. 

While the conditions typically occur during calm, peaceful conditions… the visualisation of the phenomenon, especially with moon halos is linked to the approach of worsening weather over the next few days. In saying that, it is loosely linked and somewhat unreliable. 

 

Moon halo captured over Newcastle in 2015 by Rochelle Buckton

 

 

22 Degree Halo (Sun & Moon)2019-07-08T02:44:34+10:00
8 07, 2019

What are Altostratus Clouds?

2019-07-08T02:22:08+10:00

Altostratus clouds are some of the most dull and boring clouds across the sky. This type of cloud is quite layered and featureless, with a grey colouring. The Latin words album and stratus mean spread out or flattened with height.. which is exactly what these clouds are, medium to high flat and dull clouds. 

 

Altostratus clouds are very large, mid level thin sheets and are usually composed of a mixture of water droplets and ice crystals. They typically don’t produce precipitation. They are thin enough that the sun can seep through them, but they often retain a grey colouring with no identifiable structural features about them. 

They form when cirrostratus clouds descend from much higher altitudes in the sky, and while theres nothing special about these clouds they can help produce optical phenomenon’s such as iridescence and coronas. Due to their featureless appearance, there are no categories that this cloud fits into, it essentially is its own cloud. There are some different patterns though that may occur and these include undulatus, radiatus and duplicatus. 

Altocumulus clouds often form ahead of frontal systems, mostly occluded fronts but sometimes cold fronts. As the front passes through, altostratus layers deepens and bulk out to become nimbostratus clouds which can produce rain or snow. This can typically mean that the visual sighting of these clouds refers to a change in the weather over the next 12-24 hours.

 

What are Altostratus Clouds?2019-07-08T02:22:08+10:00
8 07, 2019

What are Altocumulus Clouds?

2019-07-08T02:17:04+10:00

Altocumulus clouds are small clouds situated in the mid levels of the atmosphere, between roughly 7,000 and 18,000ft. These small clouds are called cloudlets, which are mostly shaped like rounded clumps. Altocumulus clouds are made up of a combination of both ice and water which allows them to have a slightly ethereal appearance compared to those of the cumulus variety which are slightly bigger in size and fluffier in appearance. 

 

Altocumulus clouds can form through several different methods. In all of these methods, they produce a key visual difference which allows them to be differentiated from cirrocumulus clouds. That key visual is the presence of shading, as the clouds appear to retain a ‘greyer’ colouring around their base. This is largely due to their elevation, where the cirrocumulus clouds are higher in the atmosphere and the sun is rarely “above” them, but also shining light below them… the altocumulus clouds may be lower than the sun in comparison to the horizon and thus the sun’s light doesn’t project across the entirety of the cloud. They can form through the break up of altostratus clouds. They can also form through the lifting process of moist air pockets which become cooled by mountainous terrain, this process can produce atmospheric waves which can produce the clouds. 

While the weather is generally fairly tame when altocumulus clouds are present, they can on the off occasion produce precipitation. This precipitation won’t touch the ground though as its evaporated before it touches the ground, this precipitation is called virga.

 

Altocumulus clouds are categorised into 4 different types and while their mechanics are similar they all have their own unique characteristics which help determine which is which. These categories are Stratiformis, Lenticularis, Castellanus, Floccus.

  • Altocumulus Stratiformis: These are the most common types of altocumulus cloud. They are flat-bottomed puffy clouds, packed tightly together but separated by small rivers of sky. These can sometimes cover the entire sky.

  • Altocumulus Lenticularis: These are arguably the most spectacular cloud, out of all the cloud types possible. Altocumulus Lenticularis clouds, also known as lenticular clouds, are lens-shaped clouds that form over hilly or mountainous terrain and are often referred to as ‘UFO’ clouds or ‘spaceship’ clouds due to their appearance. 

  • Altocumulus Castellanus: These are great indicators of instability in a localised area, as Altocumulus Castellanus towers can often lead to the formation of cumulonimbus clouds or thunderstorms. These are much taller clouds than they are wide, but they retain a puffy appearance. 

  • Altocumulus Floccus: These are often spotted alongside altocumulus castellanus clouds, however they are slightly smaller and more ragged cloudlets. These are often found with virga present also.

    Altocumulus stratiformis via Frank Le Blanq

     

     

What are Altocumulus Clouds?2019-07-08T02:17:04+10:00
7 07, 2019

What are Cirrostratus Clouds?

2019-07-07T21:36:27+10:00

Cirrostratus clouds are high altitude clouds that are mostly transparent. They cover large areas of the sky which can sometimes lead to the formation of sun or moon halos (also known as a 22 degree halo). The appearance of a 22 degree halo may be the only indication that the clouds are even present due to how transparent and thin they become. The latin words cirrus and stratus mean lock or tuft and flattened / spread out which is exactly what these clouds look like – spread out locks of hair covering the sky. 

 

Cirrostratus clouds typically sit no lower than 20,000ft in the atmosphere and can reach as high as 40,000ft. They from as a result of slowly rising air. They are usually generated at the forefront of frontal weather systems such as warm fronts and cold fronts and the movement of the clouds can be used to predict the weather over the next 24 hours. Cirrostratus clouds are also closely linked to vapour contrails as planes fly through the dry atmosphere. 

While cirrostratus clouds don’t typically produce any weather themselves, they are fantastic indicators of approaching weather. There are 2 different forms or categories of cirrostratus clouds. (1) Cirrostratus Nebulous which likely indicates that an incoming front will likely produce persistent rain within 24 hours or (2) Cirrostratus Fibratus which likely indicates that stratus clouds may proceed it and produce precipitation (most likely in the form of light drizzle or rain). Cirrostratus clouds can span for thousands of kilometres and due to their transparent appearance, the sun is able to shine through them but at the same time, they can be slightly dense enough to still cast shadows on the Earth’s surface. 

Cirrostratus Clouds with the sun reflecting through via Stephen Burt

 

What are Cirrostratus Clouds?2019-07-07T21:36:27+10:00
7 07, 2019

What are Nimbostratus Clouds?

2019-07-07T21:27:35+10:00

If you thought altostratus clouds were dull and boring, wait for nimbostratus clouds. These are considered the most dull and boring of the cloud types. Nimbostratus clouds are essentially extensive dark or grey, gloomy, featureless layers of thick cloud that block out the sun and produce persistent rain. There is nothing picturesque about them at all, the only thing one could argue is that altostratus clouds are more dull because they don’t produce precipitation whereas nimbostratus at least produces rain. 

 

These clouds typically sit quite low in the atmosphere, around the 2,000-10,000ft mark. The lower they are, the more likely they are to produce heavier rainfall, however rainfall or precipitation (whether its snow, rain or any other form) is likely regardless. These clouds by definition are mid-level clouds as they predominantly sit closer to the 10,000ft however as stated above, they can fall to as low as 2,000ft which is matching it with some of the lowest clouds in the atmosphere. 

Nimbostratus clouds form through the deepening and thickening of an altostratus cloud and is often associated with frontal systems, similarly to the altostratus cloud. Nimbostratus clouds will often bring precipitation that can last for several hours – whether its rainfall or snowfall, until the associated passes over. The only precipitation this cloud doesn’t produce is hail. If hail is present then by definition it becomes a cumulonimbus cloud. 

Similarly to the altostratus cloud, nimbostratus clouds aren’t categorised into seperate groups like most of the other clouds. 

 

What are Nimbostratus Clouds?2019-07-07T21:27:35+10:00
Go to Top