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ES 5.4 PPT


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  • 1.  A boom of thunder has probably startled you at some point before now! The thunder was probably an introduction to an upcoming thunderstorm.  Example of severe weather, any weather capable of causing property damage, injury, and even death.
  • 2.  Small, intense weather systems producing strong winds, heavy rain, lightning, and thunder are known as thunderstorms. 2 conditions necessary for development:  Warm, moist air near Earth’s surface  Unstable atmosphere  All surrounding air is colder than the rising air mass. The air mass continues to rise as long as surrounding air is colder. 3 stages of development include:  Cumulus (strong updrafts build the storm)  Mature (heavy precipitation, cool downdrafts)  Dissipating (warm updrafts disappear, light precipitation)
  • 3.  Rising warm air reaches its dew point, condensing and forming cumulus clouds. If the atmosphere is very unstable, the warm air will continue to rise.  Grow into a dark, cumulonimbus cloud with a potential height of over 15 km. In order for a thunderstorm to be considered severe, it must produce one or more of the following conditions:  High winds  Hail  Flash floods  Tornadoes
  • 4.  Thunderstorms are electrically active.  Lightning is an electric discharge occurring between a positively charged area and a negatively charged area. When lightning strikes, energy is released and transferred to the air causing the air to expand and send out sound waves.  Thunder is the sound resulting from the rapid expansion of air along the lightning strike. Can happen in 3 ways:  Between 2 clouds  Between cloud and Earth  Within the same cloud
  • 5.  A destructive, rotating column of air having high wind speeds, low central pressure, and contact with the ground is known as a tornado.  Happen in only 1% of all thunderstorms. Starts out as a funnel cloud poking through the bottom of a cumulonimbus cloud.  The funnel cloud becomes a tornado when it makes contact with the Earth’s surface.
  • 6.  A large rotating tropical weather system having wind speed of at least 120 km/hr (75 mph) is known as a hurricane. They are the most powerful storms on Earth. Can have different names:  Typhoons (western Pacific ocean)  Cyclones (over Indian ocean) Most form between 5 and 20 latitude in the northern and southern hemispheres.
  • 7.  Begin as groups of thunderstorms move over tropical ocean waters. Hurricanes are fueled through the warm ocean water and moisture is added to the warm air through evaporation.  The warm air rises, condenses and releases large amounts of energy. Continue to grow as long as it is over its source of warm, moist air.  Colder areas or land will cause the storm to die since it has lost its energy source.
  • 8.  Thunderstorm safety:  Stay away from trees (possibility of lightning strike).  Stay away from bodies of water. Tornado safety:  Find shelter in a basement or shelter.  Go to a windowless room in the center of a building. Hurricane safety:  Stay updated through your TV or radio station.  Evacuate if near shore.  Have disaster supply kit ready.