Anvil Cloud

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anvil cloud

[′an·vəl ‚klau̇d]
The popular name given to a cumulonimbus capillatus cloud, a thunderhead whose upper portion spreads in the form of an anvil with a fibrous or smooth aspect; it also refers to such an upper portion alone when it persists beyond the parent cloud.

Anvil Cloud


a cumulonimbus cloud whose top part is flattened out in the shape of an anvil of solid or fibrous structure and has a bright white color in sunlight. The anvil cloud consists of ice crystals and forms when a cumulonimbus cloud reaches a level with a temperature on the order of —10°C and lower.


The flat, spreading top of a Cb (cumulonimbus), often shaped like an anvil. Thunderstorm anvils may spread hundreds of miles (or kilometers) downwind from the thunderstorm. Sometimes, they may spread upwind, and are called back-sheared anvils. Also called an anvil cloud.
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The high anvil clouds on thunderstorms can produce returns that are not necessarily precipitation.