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This photograph of a cumulonimbus cloud was taken near Fort Lupton, Colorado. You can see some towers growing in this cloud.
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Photo courtesy of Gregory Thompson

Supercell Thunderstorms and Squall Lines

A supercell thunderstorm is a huge rotating thunderstorm. It can last for several hours. These storms are likely to form long lasting tornadoes and large hail. There are two types of supercell thunderstorms. One type brings lots of precipitation and causes flash floods. The other type brings low amounts of precipitation and develops tornadoes and large hail.

A squall line is a system of several thunderstorms together in a line. Squall lines usually form between a cold front and a warm front. A squall line can produce lots of precipitation and strong winds. There are two types of squall lines. One type is a line of cumulonimbus clouds. The other type is a line of supercell thunderstorms.

Last modified May 27, 2010 by Becca Hatheway.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA