How far and how fast do clouds travel?
QUESTION: HOW FAR AND HOW FAST CAN CLOUDS TRAVEL?
WEATHER WISE GUY ANSWER:
The simple answer is, clouds can travel for hundreds of miles in one day, but it just depends on where they formed in the atmosphere.
Low clouds can form as low as 5,000 feet, where other clouds, such as cirrus, form at 30,000+ feet. The altitude makes all the difference.
That's because the wind doesn't blow the same speed at all levels of the atmosphere.
At the surface, where there's friction, winds will be much lighter. Several thousand feet up, stronger winds help guide weather systems and can gust well over 50mph at times.
During active weather patterns, clouds caught in the river of fast-moving air known as the jet stream can move over 100mph.
IN THE CLASSROOM
A satellite image can show you the clouds on the map and you can see just how fast they move. Visit: http://www.noaa.gov/satellites to learn more about satellites and view the latest imagery.