From now through most of February or into March, the clouds in our sky will be mostly flat. The Latin names of most winter clouds contain the word, stratus, which means "layer." Clouds with names like altostratus, nimbostratus and just plain stratus will layer up to hide the sun more days than not, and often for days at a time. If we grow anxious for light, hopefully the clouds will be stratus translucidus and not stratus opacus.

If the clouds are very high and thin — cirrus — they will appear whitish and less oppressive. Feathery cirrus uncinus, cirrus fibratus, and the lovely cirrus fibratus radiatus are the wintertime exception and can seem less like clouds and more like art pieces hung on a blue wall. We should enjoy these beautiful clouds when we can because for most of the winter, the clouds we see will just be plain old, dull, flat stratus.

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