Thunderstorms

A thunderstorm is defined as a storm that contains lightning and thunder, which are caused by unstable atmospheric conditions. When the cold upper air sinks and the warm moist air rises, storm clouds or 'thunderheads' develop, resulting in thunderstorms. This can occur singularly, in clusters, or in lines. Severe thunderstorms can bring with them heavy rains, which can cause flash floods, strong winds, lightning, hail, and even tornadoes

Facts

thunderstorms are formed by the uplifting of warm and humid air. There are many factors that lead to the uplifting of air, for example, solar heating; in the vicinity of low pressure troughs; when two different air streams meet; or when air is forced uphill.

when humid air is lifted, it will be cooled and the moisture in the air will condense to form cloud. Upon further uplifting, the cloud will extend higher. Water droplets in the cloud continue to grow in size. As the cloud extends further upward, ice crystals may form because of low temperature there. A cumulonimbus cloud results when it grows to a height of 10 to 20 kilometers Thunderstorms are produced by cumulonimbus clouds.

Where do thunderstorms occur ?

n the United States, thunderstorms usually occur in the late spring and summer, especially from May through August. The formation of thunderstorms requires warm, moist air, such as the tropical air masses that come from the Gulf of Mexico and move across the United States. Storms usually develop at the time of day when the surface air is warmest


How often do thunderstorms happen ?

Thunderstorm frequency varies according to the location. Hot and humid climates experience thunderstorm activity at a far higher rate than deserts or cold climates.
The map at the related link below shows where thunderstorms occur worldwide and their frequency.


Helpful Facts :

  • Watch the weather. It can be your local forecast on TV, in the newspaper, online, or even by simply sticking your head out the window to observe the sky. Nowadays, with the advancement of technology, most thunderstorms can be predicted more than a day in advance

  • If you are outside and see the weather conditions are deteriorating, stop what you are doing and get inside a sturdy, fully enclosed building. If you are inside, prepare to take phone calls via a cordless phone during the impending storm.
    If you are planning on showering or taking a bath as a storm is approaching, you may want to hold off until the storm passes. Lightning can be a danger as it can travel through water well. If you must bathe then, be quick. Don't dilly-dally in the tub.
    If the wind picks up, gather anything loose outside and bring it in, or tie it down if you can. Gusty winds can blow these objects onto your house, possibly causing damage.

  • Stay away from doors or windows. While it's okay to watch the storms from a distance indoors, don't stand gawking at the storm from your front door, exposing yourself to rain and lightning.

    Use caution with electrical devices. If lightning strikes the building you are in, it can travel through the wiring in the walls, and into devices plugged into the electrical outlets. To be safe, don't use electrical equipment during a thunderstorm. In particular, don't talk on the telephone (if it's a landline), and don't listen to music through headphones that are plugged into an amp.