What causes thunderstorms and what they look like

Formation: Thunderstorms usually happen where there are lots of warm, moist air masses and the atmosphere isn't solid enough to stop the warm, moist air from rising quickly.

Three main things are needed for a thunderstorm to form: water vapor, an unstable atmosphere, and a way for the air to rise, which is usually a front, mountain, or sea breeze.

Thunderstorms have three stages: cumulus (updrafts), mature (strong updrafts and downdrafts, causing thunderstorms), and fading.

Lightning and Thunder: Storm clouds separate positive and negative charges, causing lightning. Air around the lightning bolt rapidly expands and contracts, causing thunder.

Heavy Rainfall: Thunderstorms often bring heavy rain, which can cause floods in some areas, especially if the storm moves slowly.

Hail and Tornadoes: Hail can form during severe thunderstorms when strong updrafts move raindrops to the cold top levels of the storm. Tornadoes can also happen during very bad weather.

Thunderstorms can rage for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours or more, all dependent on the weather.

The availability of warm, humid air in tropical and subtropical climates increases the frequency of thunderstorms, although thunderstorms occur globally.

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