Thunderstorm Fast Facts


Planet earth experiences around 15 million thunderstorms every year. Know more about thunder storms!

A thunderstorm is a type of weather phenomenon characterized by lightning and thunder and in most cases, rain. A thunderstorm requires three basic elements in order to form. These three elements are moisture, unstable rising air, and a force to lift such as heat. A thunderstorm has three stages which include the developing stage, the mature stage, and the dissipating stage. Although thunder is loud it is not dangerous. It's the lightning in a thunderstorm that is dangerous as it can strike objects on earth as well as people. The most common time of year for a thunderstorm to occur is the spring and summer seasons, although they can occur in all four seasons.

Interesting Thunderstorm Facts:

The first stage of a thunderstorm, called the developing stage, occurs when a cumulus cloud is pushed upward by air. In the developing stage there is not usually much rain but lightning can be seen.

The second stage of a thunderstorm, called the mature stage, occurs when the rising warm air reaches warmer air and it spreads out into a 'cap'. This creates frozen water droplets that fall to the earth, melting along the way - unless the updraft is very strong which creates hail. It is during this stage that lightning and thunder and strong winds and rain occur.

The third stage of a thunderstorm, called the dissipating stage, occurs when a downdraft pushes to the ground essentially cutting off the thunderstorm's inflow.

The multicell cluster thunderstorm is the most common type, characterized by inner mature storms at the centre and dissipating storms around the outer edge, and can include weak tornadoes.

The multicell line thunderstorm is characterized by a line of severe thunderstorms that are either in front of or part of a cold front, and can include hail, strong wind, tornadoes and waterspouts.

The supercell thunderstorm is characterized by extremely strong wind, powerful updrafts, very severe weather, and strong tornadoes. Most tornadoes originate in this type of storm.

The severe thunderstorm is characterized by strong winds, funnel clouds and sometimes tornadoes.

The sound of thunder is made when lightning's heat flash causes the air to expand rapidly, and then shrink rapidly. This violent air disturbance causes the sound of thunder.

To be classified as a thunderstorm lightning must be present.

Kampala, Uganda's capital city, has the most thunderstorms each year. This city averages 240 days a year of thunderstorms.

People often hide under trees to escape thunderstorms. It's a dangerous place because trees are often struck by lightning.

Thunderstorms often occur in warm, humid conditions.

Some thunderstorms look like cauliflower in the atmosphere.

The hail produced in some thunderstorms breaks windows, kills wildlife, and even dents cars.

Lightning isn't the only danger caused by thunderstorms. They can also produce flash floods, strong damaging winds, and fires.

As soon as thunder is heard it is best to find safe shelter. Thunderstorms can begin very quickly and if you are able to hear the thunder then you are close enough to be struck by the storm's lightning.