Thunderstorm (Encyclopedia of Science)
A storm is any disturbance in Earth's atmosphere with strong winds accompanied by rain or snow and sometimes thunder and lightning. Storms have a generally positive effect on the environment and on human societies because they are the source of most of the precipitation on which the planet depends.
The most common violent change in the weather is the thunderstorm. In the United States, thunderstorms usually occur in the late spring and summer. Thunderstorms are rare in the parts of the country where the air tends to be colder, such as the New England states, North Dakota, and Montana. They also are rare by the Pacific Ocean, where summers are dry. The southeastern states tend to have the most thunderstorms. Some parts of Florida experience thunderstorms on a average of 100 days a year. A thunderstorm may last up to two hours, but most thunderstorms peak after about 15 to 30 minutes.
How thunderstorms form
Thunderstorms develop by the same process that forms cumulus clouds, the puffy clouds of summer skies. These clouds form when a humid air mass (air with an abundance of water vapor) near the surface rises on currents of air called updrafts. As the air mass rises through the atmosphere it expands and cools. Eventually, the rising air cools to the point where its water vapor condenses to form droplets of liquid water, releasing heat in the...
(The entire section is 787 words.)
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