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This photograph shows the build-up of cumulus clouds.
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Courtesy of Steve Albers

Types of Thunderstorms

There are two main types of thunderstorms: ordinary and severe. Ordinary thunderstorms are the common summer storm.

Ordinary thunderstorms last about one hour. The precipitation associated with them is rain and occasionally small hail. An ordinary thunderstorm cloud can grow up to 12 kilometers high.

Severe thunderstorms are really dangerous. They are capable of producing baseball-sized hail, strong winds, intense rain, flash floods, and tornadoes. Severe thunderstorms can last several hours and can grow 18 kilometers high. Several phenomena are associated with severe thunderstorms. These include the gust front, microburst, supercell thunderstorm, and the squall line.



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