Thunderstorm Basics

The Ingredients Needed for a Thunderstorm:

  • Moisture to form in the clouds
  • Atmospheric instability
  • Lift allowing the air to rise

Severe Thunderstorm Requirements:

  • Hail that is at least one inch in size
  • Wind gust of at least 58 mph

A microburst is a localized column of air that comes down to the ground by a collapsing downdraft/thunderstorm.  It has strong to damaging straight line winds, with heavy rain, and is short lived.


Source:  Weather Spotter’s Field Guide, US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , National Weather Service , June 2011

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