A Thunderstorm is a storm that generates lightening and thunder. They can produce heavy winds, rain and also hail. A thunderstorm is caused by warm, unstable air.
How common are thunderstorms? There are up to 2,000 thunderstorms happening on Earth. About 45,000 thunderstorms happen each day, and the U.S. has about 100,000 every year,
Thunderstorms Form when warm, humid air rises. It also has 3 stages.
Thunderstorm Formation Diagram
- Cumulus stage: Warm air rises and the cloud grows bigger. This is called "Updrafts".
- Mature stage: Cloud is at it's biggest and has a large amount of precipitation.
- Dissipating stage: Precipitation cools cloud down and the storm dies. (storms usually last for 1-2 hours.)
Tornadoes are violent wind storms that form a vortex. Vortex mean a rotating column of air that comes form a very large cloud (cumulonimbus cloud)
Tornado Occurrence in the U.S. is about 770 tornadoes every year. Most tornadoes occur from April through June, and they form from severe thunderstorms.
A Tornadoes formation has 3 stages.
Tornadoes Formation Diagram
- A thunderstorm begins and warm air rises
- Warm air begins to rotate ( mesocyclone)
- Air begins to roll creating a vortex
A Fujita Scale measures the strength of a tornado.
Hurricanes have the most violent storms on Earth. The winds get up to 119 km per hour or 70 miles per hour. They get their strength from ocean water, and in other parts of the world they have different names. Hurricanes are sometimes called Typhoon and Cyclones. They are a growing problem, because people continue to live on the coast.
Hurricane Occurrence in the U.S. is about 5 every year and there are about 85 worldwide.
Hurricane Formations must begin with warm water temperatures that create warm/moist air.
Hurricane Formation Diagram
- Begin as a bunch of thunderstorms
- Warm air from storms moves to the center and rises creating clouds
- Clouds form a ring called the Eye Wall
- The ring spins and grows
- The storm dies once it goes far into land
Hurricane Intensity is determined by the Saffir-Simpson scale, and most of the damage comes from the water waves called storm surge.