Every Thunderstorm Needs:
- Moisture - to form clouds and rain.
- Unstable Air - relatively warm air that can rise rapidly.
- Lift - fronts, sea breezes, and mountains are capable of lifting air to help form thunderstorms.
Life Cycle of a Thunderstorm
- Towering cumulus cloud indicates rising air.
- Usually little if any rain during this stage.
- Lasts about 10 minutes.
- Occasional lightning during this stage.
- Most likely time for hail, heavy rain, frequent lightning, strong winds, and tornadoes.
- Storm occasionally has a black or dark green appearance.
- Lasts an average of 10 to 20 minutes but may last much longer in some storms.
- Rainfall decreases in intensity.
- Some thunderstorms produce a burst of strong winds during this stage.
- Lightning remains a danger during this stage.