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- 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

Cumulus stage

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

Mature stage

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.

Dissipating stage

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

Severe Thunderstorm

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.

thunderstorm hazards

wind shear aloft, downbursts & microbursts: damaging straightline winds, lightning, heavy rain, hail, tornadoes


a sudden spark, or energy discharge, caused when electrical charges jump between parts of a cloud, between nearby clouds, or between a cloud and the ground

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