Why these clouds are good indicators of warm weather

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A special thank you to Kathy Reagan for sharing these photos from this weekend. She spotted these clouds overhead and thought they looked peculiar. And yes, they are a little more rare than the usual cumulus and stratus clouds.

These are “cirrus uncinus” clouds (seer’-us uhn-sigh’-nus), Latin for “curly hooks. They are produced at a very high altitude where temperatures are very cold. In fact, if you’re flying in a jet airplane, they are probably going to pass above you,¬†where it is around -50 degrees Fahrenheit!

Most cirrus uncinus clouds appear before warm fronts arrive. That’s why you can expect warmer and sometimes wetter weather in the 12-24 hours after seeing these clouds.cloud1cloud2cloud3This weekend, these clouds really worked well at forecasting the weather. We’ve seen high temperatures 15 degrees above normal. That stretch will continue through Friday when a cold front is expected to slide through.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen