Storms form when warm, moisture-laden air rises rapidly into the atmosphere. As the air rises, it cools and the moisture condenses, falling back to Earth as precipitation.Know More
Storms are fueled by heat and moisture, which is why storm activity, particularly thunderstorm activity, is greater during the summer season. The rising warm air cools and falls, creating a convection current that feeds the storm. This is why storms often form and intensify over water, and then lose intensity or die out completely as they move over land. When conditions are favorable, storms often appear and develop very quickly. Some storm systems last for several hours, producing multiple storms, or cells, over their life cycles.
In many instances, the moisture needed to fuel a storm is actually supplied by a mass of air moving through a particular area. This is why so many storms form at the boundaries where different air masses meet. The famed Tornado Alley is a result of this phenomenon; cool, dry air comes down from the north while warm, moist air comes up from the south. Meeting over the open plains, these air masses mix and are warmed by the sun to produce very intense storms, which often develop into huge, super-cell thunderstorms or even tornadoes.Learn more in Storms
A tropical storm forms when calm, warm ocean waters warm the air above the surface, creating a convection current. Over time, this current draws moisture and warmth into the upper levels of the atmosphere, creating the rotational engine that drives a tropical storm or hurricane. The longer a storm stays in areas of the ocean with favorable conditions, the stronger it will grow.Full Answer >
Dust storms form when wind and other factors cause dust to rise high in the air, where the wind whips it around, causing destruction and damage. Dust storms are also called sand storms, though both require the same kind of light, dry dust in order to form. Sometimes, dust storms are so large that they affect local weather or create unusual sunrises or sunsets.Full Answer >
Hurricanes form when rising warm, moist air displaces colder air high in the atmosphere. The cold air drops down on all sides of the warm spot, swirling slightly as it falls, then becomes warm and moist itself, repeating the process. Over time, the swirling grows into a hurricane.Full Answer >
Thunderstorms, hail storms, ice storms, tornadoes, blizzards, hurricanes, tropical storms, dust devils and squalls are types of storms known to cause serious damage. Geomagnetic solar storms are disruptions in the Earth's magnetosphere caused by activity on the Sun.Full Answer >