The ‘Cap’ Cloud’s Important Message About A Thunderstorm

By Chris Spears

DENVER (CBS4) – It’s one of the many beautiful sights associated with rapidly changing weather, and when you see it, you better grab the camera fast.

That’s because a pileus cloud, or cap cloud, doesn’t last long and it changes shape fast due to the chaotic air below.

A pileus or "cap" cloud (credit: CBS)

A pileus or “cap” cloud (credit: CBS)

Pileus clouds are nature’s subtle way of saying a thunderstorm is growing at a rapid pace.

A pileus or "cap" cloud (credit: CBS)

A pileus or “cap” cloud (credit: CBS)

These clouds are made mostly of ice and form as air is forced up inside a building thunderstorm. They take on a smooth shape similar to a lenticular cloud.

A pileus or "cap" cloud (credit: CBS)

A pileus or “cap” cloud (credit: CBS)

The pileus cloud paves the way for a thunderstorm to grow taller and stronger, potentially, producing heavy rain and large hail.

Meteorologist Chris Spears writes about stories related to weather and climate in Colorado. Check out his bio, connect with him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @ChrisCBS4.

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