By: Logan Mullaney

What Causes a Thunderstorm?

The basic ingredients used to make a thunderstorm are moisture, unstable air and lift. You need moisture to form clouds and rain. You need unstable air that is relatively warm and can rise rapidly. Finally, you need lift. This can form from fronts, sea breezes or mountains.

When are thunderstorms most likely to occur?

Thunderstorms can occur year-round and at all hours. But they are most likely to happen in the spring and summer months and during the afternoon and the evening.

Are Thunderstorms dangerous?

Yes, despite their small size, all thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes.

What is Lightning

Lightning is a bright flash of electricity produced by a thunderstorm. All thunderstorms produce lightning and are very dangerous. If you hear the sound of thunder, then you are in danger from lightning. Lightning kills and injures more people each year than hurricanes or tornadoes; between 75 to 100 people.

Characteristics that describe a Thunderstorm

A thunderstorm is a violent, short-lived weather disturbance that is almost always associated with lightning, thunder, dense clouds, heavy rain or hail, and strong, gusty winds.


We can see thunderstorms with a variety of tools. Most areas of Earth can be seen by weather satellites. Satellites take pictures of Earth at regular intervals from space, telling us where clouds are located. Meteorologists watch these pictures over time to watch for rapidly growing clouds, a clue to a possible thunderstorm. Satellites also can tell us the temperature of the clouds. Clouds with cold tops are usually very high up in the atmosphere, and could mean the cloud is tall enough to be a thunderstorm. Meteorologists also track how these clouds move to see what areas will be affected by the storm next.


Weather radar is very important to meteorologists because it can detect rain and severe weather even when it is cloudy or dark. Doppler radar sends out electromagnetic wave fields that can be reflected back to the radar by things in the air like precipitation. The amount of energy that is reflected back can tell us how heavy the rain might be or tell us there is hail. Doppler radar can also show us how the wind is blowing near and inside the storm. This is helpful in understanding what kinds of hazards the thunderstorm might have associated with it. It also helps us understand how the thunderstorm is feeding itself.

What damage can Thunderstorms cause

Many hazardous weather events are associated with thunderstorms. Under the right conditions, rainfall from thunderstorms causes flash flooding, killing more people each year than hurricanes, tornadoes or lightning. Lightning is responsible for many fires around the world each year, and causes fatalities.

Safety Precautions

1.Find Shelter Immediately

2.Stay Away From Windows

3.Don't touch anything metal or electrical

4.Stay Inside

5.Stay away from metal things.

A Famous Occurrance of a Thunder Storm

One of the most important Thunder Storms is the one when Benjamin Franklin found Lightning was a form of electricity. In 1752 Benjamin Franklin flew a kite in a Thunder Storm to collect a charge in a Leyden Jar when the kite struck lightning. It was a huge discovery in history.