Cumulonimbus capillatus

A cumulonimbus capillatus is a cumulonimbus cloud with dense cirrus clouds which makes the cloud's top appear to contain hair-like structures. The name comes from the Latin, capillatus, meaning "with hair".[1]

Cumulonimbus capillatus
Big Cumulonimbus.JPG
AbbreviationCb cap.
SymbolClouds CL 9.svg
AltitudeGround to 23,000 m
(75,000 ft)
ClassificationFamily D (Vertically developed)
AppearanceDark-based storm cloud capable of impressive vertical growth with a fibrous upper portion.
Precipitation cloud?Very common Rain, Snow, Snow pellets or Hail, heavy at times

It is an intermediate stage between cumulonimbus calvus and cumulonimbus incus.


A cumulonimbus capillatus is a mature and powerful cumulonimbus cloud and can produce multiple severe weather.

  • Lightning; this is a strong thunderstorm cloud and it is capable of producing bursts of cloud to ground and cloud to cloud lightning.
  • Hail; hailstones may fall from this cloud if it is in a highly unstable environment (which favors a more vigorous storm updraft).
  • Heavy rain; the cloud may drop several inches of rain in a short amount of time. This can cause flash flooding.
  • Strong wind; gale-force winds from a downburst may occur under this cloud.


  1. ^ "capillatus". Oxford Reference. Retrieved 2021-10-18.