After spending some time watching clouds, it occurred to me how interesting it is that clouds have more structure than just being homogenous, really humid layers in the sky. I see that a similar question to that has previously been addressed on the site, and, presumably, the fractal nature of the boundary of a cloud is thus due to some related dynamical system (and is maybe to some degree influenced by the molecular structure of water).
However, what I'm curious about is a related question about how clouds are not homogenous. As I understand it, precipitation occurs when the air is oversaturated with water such that the water condenses and falls. Yet, this understanding would seem to suggest that we should observe precipitation being more like, "The cloud hits a cold spot, all the vapor condenses, and the cloud falls from the sky and goes sploosh on the ground" than what we actually observe - in particular, it doesn't seem to explain why precipitation should come down in raindrops or why a single storm should be able to continue precipitating for any length of time, rather than condensing all in a short period. What factors cause precipitation to act this way? How can I think about the processes involved in a better way to address this?