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.
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
Some Hurricane Katrina facts for children include that it struck the Gulf Coast at the Louisiana-Mississippi border on August 29, 2005 and was labeled a Category 3 storm when it hit land. The highest wind speeds were 175 mph as it crossed the Gulf of Mexico.Full Answer >
Typhoons occur most often in the far western Pacific Ocean. They tend to form east of Guam and track west towards Taiwan before heading north and northeast towards Japan. This region is colloquially referred to as "typhoon alley." Typhoons strike the Philippines more often than any other nation.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 >
An isolated T-storm in a weather report means that a small percentage, typically between 10 percent and 20 percent of the affected area may see a thunderstorm. The clouds are usually a part of a squall line, which usually proceeds a cold front.Full Answer >