This photograph shows the build-up of cumulus clouds.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of Steve Albers
Types of Thunderstorms
There are two main types of thunderstorms: ordinary and severe. Ordinary
thunderstorms are the common summer storm. They are usually multicell.
Multicell storms consist of a line of thunderstorms in different stages
Ordinary thunderstorms last about one hour. The precipitation associated
with them is rain and
occasionally small hail.
An ordinary thunderstorm cloud
can have a vertical extent up to 12 kilometers.
Severe thunderstorms are the most dangerous weather
phenomenon in the United States. They are capable of producing baseball-sized
hail, strong winds, intense rain, flash floods, and
tornadoes. Severe thunderstorms
can last several hours and can reach a vertical extent of 18 kilometers.
Several phenomena are associated with severe thunderstorms. These
include the gust
front, microburst, supercell
and the squall
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