- A low pressure cell with precipitation, gusty winds, lightening, and thunder
2 types of storms
- Air Mass Thunderstorm Self Extinguishing (single cell) - Severe Thunderstorm Self Propagating Super Cell
Air mass thunderstorm
1. Form in spring/summer 2. Occur from mT air moving north out of gulf; unstable moist air forms when warm land heats air or it is lifted along front 3. Most occur in mid-afternoon heat 4. Local difference in surface heating=more localized, isolated cells
3 stages of air mass thunderstorms
- Cumulus - Mature - Dissipating
1st stage of a thunderstorm, strong updraft creates towering clouds with suspended droplets that release latent heat to raise temp so the cloud keeps growing up
the second phase of a thunderstorm, where downdrafts move from the base of a cumulonimbus cloud and produce heavy precipitation. Tornadoes touch down during this phase of the storm.
3rd stage of a thunderstorm, updraft weakens as gust front moves away so the precipitation falls until it is finished with no updraft to refuel it
a thunderstorm that produces frequent lightning, locally damaging wind, or hail that is 2 centimeters or more in diameter. In the middle latitudes, most thunderstorms form along or ahead of cold fronts.