Types of Thunderstorms Weather Facts for Kids
Learn about the different types of stormsThere are many different types of thunderstorms each with their own unique weather characteristics. Find out what these are.
Depending on the weather dynamics, different types of thunderstorms can occur and show different characteristics in person and on radar. Thunderstorms can be broken down into about 4 different types. So what are these different types of storms? Well let's look below:
Thunderstorm type #1: The single cell or ordinary cell thunderstorm
These types of storms are not always severe and are sometimes called pulse thunderstorms. They can fire up pretty quickly and die out just as fast. Usually only one updraft and downdraft occur as well.
As I stated above, these storms are not usually severe, but can be if conditions are right.
Thunderstorm type #2: Multicell thunderstorms
Image by dmahr
These thunderstorms are groups of cells that move together and each storm in the group can be a t a different stage in the thunderstorm cycle. These storms are weaker than supercell thunderstorms, but stronger than single celled storms and storms may even form ahead of the main group sometimes. These storms can go severe and produce hail and strong winds, as well as the occasional tornado (How do Tornadoes Form).
Many people like to compare these storms with sueprcells, but they are very different as I will explain later.
Thunderstorm type #3: Multicell Lines (Squall Lines)
Image by millicent_bystander
Squall lines can be a very common occurrence during severe weather season. Thunderstorms basically form a line that can stretch for hundreds of miles usually from north to south, but also from east to west. Typically there is a gust front that proceeds the line and sometimes these storms will look like they are bowing out (called a bow echo) because of the strong winds. These storms are usually severe and can produce hail, strong winds, and tornadoes. You typically look for squall lines to form ahead of a cold front that is clashing with the warm air. These lines can sometimes last for hours even into the night if there is enough instability in the air, then fizzling out by morning.
Thunderstorm type #4: Supercell Thunderstorms
Image by CoreBurn
Supercells thunderstorms are truly a sight to see and are the most likely to produce tornadoes. These storms have towering clouds like an anvil shape and have rotating updrafts. The rotating updraft in a supercell is what makes it very different from all the other types of thunderstorms. They can also produce absolutely huge hailstones and can last for hours at a time. The supercell thunderstorm is probably the most dangerous of all the thunderstorm types, but it is the rarest of them all as well.
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Lightning strike on the Renaissance Center
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