How do Thunderstorms Form? Basic Weather Facts
Know the basic ingredients for how thunderstorms are createdSo how do thunderstorms form? Thunderstorms can be very powerful forces of weather and can dangerous at times. Find out what is needed for them to form and also weather safety tips.
Thunderstorms are amazing weather phenomenon. The first thing you need to know is that you are more likely to get them, especially severe thunderstorms, when cold air is meeting up with warm air.
Usually this is caused by a cold front with much cooler air behind it, and the warm air is in front of it ahead of a warm front (Learn more about Cold Fronts and Warm Fronts). This is when the air is very unstable and severe weather can occur. Warm humid air is lifted up and thunderstorms start to form. Solar heating can also cause air to be uplifted so you don't ALWAYS need a cold front to trigger severe weather.
The water in the clouds then changes from it's gas form to liquid form and the drops get bigger and bigger and some may even freeze because of the high altitude. At this stage, it is usually called the mature stage of the thunderstorm. This is one of the most basic weather processes.
So to form a thunderstorm, you need:
- Daytime heating from the sun
- And unstable air...usually humid air and weather
- Air Mass Thunderstorms (Caused by convection in a localized unstable air mass)
- Frontal Thunderstorm (Caused by frontal weather boundaries which can cause supercells and squall lines)
Squall lines are long lived thunderstorms that form a line that can stretch for a couple hundred miles, usually from north to south
Of course very strong thunderstorms can also produce hail and tornadoes (How do Tornadoes Form).
Now that you know how a thunderstorm is formed, next time someone asks YOU "how do thunderstorms form?", you will be able to tell them :)
Thunderstorms and Lightning
So what about lightning and thunder? My favorite part of severe weather are the lightning and thunder and one of my favorite things about the weather. How are these two caused? Find out more about thunder and lightning.
Knowing how to stay safe when a thunderstorm is approaching is good to know. Find out more about Thunderstorm Safety.
Types of Thunderstorms
Find out the different type of thunderstorms that can form and what differentiates one from the other. Find more about the different Types of Thunderstorms.
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Lightning strike on the Renaissance Center
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