Thunderstorms are categorized as weather disturbances. They are usually brief, lasting about 30 minutes on average, but are violent. Other weather occurrences associated with a thunderstorm include straight-line winds, tornadoes, hailstorms, and rain. Lightning, thunder, dense clouds, and rain or hail are all signs of an approaching thunderstorm. In the United States, thunderstorms most frequently occur in the southeastern states. Of these, Florida has the highest number of ‘thunder’ days.
Why do Thunderstorms Occur?
A thunderstorm occurs due to the collision of warm moist air and cold, dry air. It contains a great deal of energy, which it eventually releases into the atmosphere. Warm air in the atmosphere rises and becomes condensation. The condensation process triggers the release of heat, which contributes to the formation of a thunderstorm. The heat eventually dissipates with natural progression. The resultant rain helps cool it down. As the energy dissipates, so does the intensity of the thunderstorm.
Thunderstorms may appear frightening, but they are nature’s way of regulating the electrical balance on Earth. The Earth and its atmosphere are constantly exchanging electricity. When a thunderstorm occurs, the negative charge in the atmosphere is pushed back to the Earth in the form of lightning.
What Kind of Damage Can Severe Thunderstorms Cause?
Thunderstorms are classified as severe’ when one or more of the following conditions exist:
- Hailstones larger than one inch in diameter
- Wind gusts exceeding 50 knots (57.5 mph)
- Occurrence of a tornado
Severe thunderstorms can produce heavy rainfall, which may result in flash floods. Floods may cause infrastructure and property damage, as well as power outages. They also pose a serious threat to life. Floods due to rain are known to kill more people than high winds.
Thunderstorm lightning can also cause major fires. Large hailstones can damage property and cause injuries to both humans and wildlife.
Straight-line winds are other elements that may cause significant damage, such as bringing large trees to their knees, causing power outages, and wreaking havoc on property. Tornadoes with winds of up to 300 mph are also responsible for widespread property damage.
How Can One Detect Thunderstorms?
There are scientific tools that can help predict the path, intensity, and approach of a storm. One of them is the doppler radar, which scans the wind direction in the vicinity of a storm. They are also used to detect rain and hail during a thunderstorm. Certain features of thunderstorms, such as the iconic thunderstorm anvil, are easily identifiable from satellite views.
Where Can I Receive Reliable Information About Thunderstorms?
Several online services and websites provide reliable storm-related information. Staying up to date on emergency alerts can help you better prepare for an impending storm. Sign up for local weather warning alerts. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) typically send out alerts in the form of messages. They are typically sanctioned by federal or state officials. You can receive timely emergency alerts by tuning in to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio.
Thunderstorms are unpredictable and can leave a path of destruction in their wake. By having an expert public adjuster by your side, you can be better prepared to cover your losses by quickly claiming your insurance in the aftermath of a thunderstorm.
US Department of Commerce, N. O. A. A. (2019, December 18). NWS Jetstream – thunderstorms. NWS JetStream – Thunderstorms. Retrieved January 9, 2023, from https://www.weather.gov/jetstream/tstorms_intro#:~:text=The%20most%20frequent%20occurrence%20is,105%2B%20days%20per%20year)
Donegan, B. (2022, November 8). Water from hurricanes, tropical storms kills more in US than wind. Fox Weather. Retrieved January 9, 2023, from https://www.foxweather.com/learn/water-from-hurricanes-tropical-storms-kills-more-in-us-than-wind