Severe Weather The Earth’s weather changes all the time. It can be calm and quiet one minute and stormy and thunderous the next. Thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and drought are examples of weather related phenomena that affect our daily lives and the planet.
Thunderstorms Thunderstorms are heavy rainstorms that usually include strong winds, thunder, lightning, and sometimes hail.
Thunderstorm This type of storm occurs when a cold air mass called a cold front forces its way underneath a warmer mass of air. The warm air is pushed upward forming a cumulonimbus cloud which produces a violent weather phenomena we call a thunderstorm.
Hurricanes Hurricanes are tropical storms that form over warm ocean waters and are the largest storms on Earth. In other parts of the world these powerful storms are called typhoons, cyclones, and even willy-willies!
Hurricanes They begin as areas of low pressure and grow larger as they take in more and more heat and moisture from the warm ocean water.
Hurricanes These powerful storms have strong winds that move in huge circles. The winds spiral inward toward the area of lowest pressure at the center or eye of the storm.
Hurricanes The speed of the winds can range from 75 mph to over 150 mph and can cause much destruction. During a hurricane, trees are blown over, roofs are torn off, and giant ocean waves are formed.
Hurricanes STORM SURGE These waves, along with the heavy rains that come with this type of storm, can result in severe flooding, destruction of property, and even death.
Tornadoes Tornadoes often form without warning during thunderstorms as a column of warm air begins to spin upward forming a funnel cloud.
Tornadoes They frequently occur in the Great Plains region of the United States when cold air masses moving south from Canada and warm air masses moving north from the Gulf of Mexico collide.
Tornadoes A tornado, though similar to a hurricane with its circular winds, is much smaller.
Tornadoes Don’t let its size fool you, however. It can be the most violent of storms with its spinning winds reaching speeds of 300 mph! These high winds can destroy property and are strong enough to pick up and move cars, trains, and even houses.