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Thunderstorms & Hail

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Dangerous Weather. On a hot summer day the surface of the Earth is heated by the sun.

Dangerous Weather

The Earth's surface heats the air just above the surface through the process of conduction. The action of warm air rising and cold air sinking (convection) plays a key role in the formation of severe thunderstorms. If the warm surface air is forced to rise, it will continue to rise, because it is less dense than the surrounding air. In addition, it will transfer heat from the land surface to upper levels of the atmosphere through the process of convection. Two of the most important ingredients for thunderstorm formation are instability (unstable air) and moisture. There are three main types of thunderstorms; orographic, air mass, and frontal. Supercell thunderstorms occur when very strong updrafts are balanced by downdrafts. The result is a strong, persistent updraft of warm moist air. At some point, condensation high in the cloud (now in the form of water droplets and ice) falls to the ground as rain.

Weather Wiz. Thunderstorms What is a thunderstorm?

Weather Wiz

A thunderstorm is a storm with lightning and thunder. Its produced by a cumulonimbus cloud, usually producing gusty winds, heavy rain and sometimes hail. 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. When are thunderstorms most likely to occur? How many thunderstorms are there every day? What is lightning? What causes lightning? Have you ever rubbed your feet across carpet and then touched a metal door handle?

Click Here to see where lightning is currently striking across the U.S.What causes thunder? How far away can you see lightning and hear thunder? What is hail? What causes the wind to blow? What is a gust front? Know the Lingo SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH - A severe thunderstorm (damaging winds of 58 miles per hour or more, or 1" hail in diameter or greater) is likely to develop in your area. Know the Facts Thunderstorm Safety Tips. Weather Wiz Kids weather information for kids. Why do clouds form at different heights in the atmosphere?

Weather Wiz Kids weather information for kids

The characteristics of clouds are dictated by the elements available, including the amount of water vapor, the temperatures at that height, the wind, and the interplay of other air masses. How is fog formed? There are many different types of fog, but fog is mostly formed when southerly winds bring warm, moist air into a region, possibly ending a cold outbreak. As the warm, moist air flows over much colder soil or snow, dense fog often forms.

Warm, moist air is cooled from below as it flows over a colder surface. Cirrostratus clouds are thin, sheetlike high clouds that often cover the entire sky. Cirrocumulus clouds appear as small, rounded white puffs that appear in long rows. "Alto" Clouds Altostratus clouds are gray or blue-gray mid level clouds composed of ice crystals and water droplets. Altocumulus clouds are mid level clouds that are made of water droplets and appear as gray puffy masses. Stratus Clouds Cumulus Clouds. Weather Wiz Kids weather information for kids. Weather Wiz Kids weather information for kids. Lightning What is lightning?

Weather Wiz Kids weather information for kids

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. What causes lightning? Have you ever rubbed your feet across carpet and then touched a metal door handle? Click Here to see where lightning is currently striking across the U.S.How hot is lightning? What causes thunder? How far away can you see lightning and hear thunder? Weather Wiz Kids weather information for kids.