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Thunderstorm Formation - Mature Stage - Windows to the Universe

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Mature Stage

When the cumulus cloud becomes very large, the water in it become large and heavy. Raindrops start to fall through the cloud when the rising air can no longer hold them up. Meanwhile, cool dry air starts to enter the cloud. Because cool air is heavier than warm air, it starts to descend in the cloud (known as a downdraft). The downdraft pulls the heavy water downward, making rain.

This cloud has become a cumulonimbus cloud because it has an updraft, a downdraft, and rain. Lightning and thunder start to occur, as well as heavy rain. The cumulonimbus is now a thunderstorm cell.

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