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Backpacker Magazine – June 2010

How to Predict the Weather

Learn to identify three families of clouds and you'll be able to forecast rain, sun, and deadly storms.

by: Lisa Maloney, Photos by Michael DeYoung

Cumulonimbus Clouds
Cumulonimbus Clouds
Nimbostratus Clouds
Nimbostratus Clouds
Cirrus Clouds
Cirrus Clouds

Cloud Quiz
Test your weather-predicting skills with our this photo slideshow.

Cirrus clouds
How they form Found more than 20,000 feet high, these curly, wispy clouds consist of ice crystals and can form in any season. Cirrus generally appear white but, at dawn and dusk, can take on a rainbow of colors.

What to expect Fair weather

Warning signs
Don’t confuse cirrus clouds with other high-altitude clouds such as cirrostratus clouds or high, lumpy cirrocumulus clouds. The former signal a good chance of rain or snow within 24 hours, and the latter often indicate cold weather; in the tropics, however, cirrocumulus clouds might mark a hurricane’s approach.

What to do Milk the weather window: Enjoy a long lunch or tack on another objective.



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