Description & Characteristics. The ‘praecipitatio’ cloud feature can be found amongst six cloud types: altostratus, nimbostratus, cumulonimbus, cumulus, stratus, and stratocumulus. Translated from latin, meaning fall, the six praecipitatio cloud types are respectively abbreviated as ‘As pra’, ‘Ns pra’, ‘Cb pra’, ‘Cu pra’, ‘St pra’, and ‘Sc tr’. This is the feature that simply means the cloud is accompanied by either rain, snow, sleet, or any type of precipitation that reaches the ground.
Preciptation forms when suspended water particles that make up the cloud condense into larger droplets, become too heavy to be suspended any longer, and fall back to earth. The cloud feature praecipitatio encompasses all types of falling precipitation such as rain, freezing rain, drizzle, snow, ice pellets, hail, and ice crystals. The kind of precipitation that results all depends on the temperatures of the various layers of air that the precipitation falls through on its journey from the cloud to the ground.
Only when the preciptation reaches ground level, it’s considered praecipitatio. If it evaporates before reaching the ground, it’s considered the cloud feature known as virga. The two cloud types that are known for consistent preciptation are cumulonimbus and nimbostratus. However, the cloud types altostratus, cumulus, stratus, and stratocumulus can produce preciptation if the right conditions exist.