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.
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)
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.