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Clouds and Precipitation



Clouds and Precipitation
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.09

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    mid-level, atmosphere, cirrostratus, nimbus, stratus, nimbostratus, stratocumulus, based, halo, prefix, produce, alto, cumulonimbus, develop, earth, cumulus


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Clouds and Precipitation
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     Clouds look very light, the way they float up there in the sky, but clouds are made up of water and ice, two rather heavy materials. Sometimes a cloud gets too heavy. Then, what happens? No, the cloud doesn't just fall right out of the sky, crashing down to earth with a giant roar. What a cloud does, when it gets too heavy, is gradually drop the extra water or ice, bit by tiny bit. These tiny bits of water and ice are what we call precipitation. Precipitation comes in several forms: rain, snow, hail, sleet, and freezing rain.
 
2     There are different types of clouds, and once you learn to recognize them, you will have a good clue as to whether any precipitation might be on the way. The names of the clouds give you some more information. Many of the cloud names are based on Latin roots. Here are a few of the main ones, and what each one means.
cumulus - heap
stratus - layer
cirrus - curl
nimbus - rain

 
3     Clouds are sometimes grouped according to how high they are in the sky. There are high clouds, mid-level clouds, and low clouds. Another group is vertical clouds, or clouds that pile up high into the sky.

Paragraphs 4 to 9:
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