There is no objective definition to separate cumulus congestus clouds from the shallow cumulus and deep clouds. This has generated misinterpretation about the role of congestus clouds to promote deep convection through the potential of moistening the middle troposphere. In this study, an objective identification for the different tropical cumulus modes is found by examining the occurrence frequency of the cloud cell top heights (CTHs) and near-ground (at 2.5 km height) rainfall properties of these cells using a three-season database of the Darwin C-band polarimetric radar. Four cumulus modes were identified, namely a shallow cumulus mode with CTH in the trade inversion layer (1–3 km), a congestus mode with tops in the highly stable middle troposphere (3–6.5 km), a deep convective mode with tops in the region of free convection (6.5–15 km), and an overshooting convection mode with tops in the tropical tropopause layer (CTH >15 km). The study also investigates the connections between these cumulus modes during heavy rainfall events. The congestus mode occurs predominantly from ~10 h prior to the peak rainfall event to ~2 h past the event. The deep cloud populations (Modes 3 and 4) have their maxima at and shortly after the time of the rainfall peak, with maximum occurrence just below the tropical tropopause layer. A comparison of the heavy rainfall events occurring in morning (oceanic) conditions against the afternoon (continental) conditions revealed a higher ratio of the shallow to the deep cloud population and a shorter transition time from the shallow to the onset of deep population in the morning-oceanic conditions than the afternoon-land conditions. It is also found through the analysis of the large-scale moisture budget data set that for both the morning and afternoon events, the moistening peaked before the peak in the congestus populations.