What are Severe Thunderstorms and What Do They Contain?
Thunderstorms are storms with cumulonimbus or storm clouds. The clouds have water inside of them and the water pours down on the ground below. Thunderstorms can also have heavy winds. Lightning and thunder are the main things in thunderstorms. Here is how lightning happens: First, we have to start off with a storm cloud. Tiny pieces of ice, which are actually frozen water droplets, clash around inside of the storm cloud. This clashing makes an electric charge that is then stored inside of the cloud. The positively charged electricity goes to the top of the cloud and the negatively charged electricity settles at the bottom. Since opposites attract, the negative charge jumps from where it is at the bottom of the cloud to the top of the cloud. That jump is what we see as a bolt of lighting. We just said that because of the charges jumping from the negative to the positive is what causes lightning. The ground under a storm cloud is also positively charged. The positive charge tends to bunch up in things that stick up high from the ground like trees and tall buildings. The negative charge from the ground hits the positively charged ground. That is how lightning strikes the ground. Now, here is how thunder happens: the lightning strike is so powerful that it opens up a pocket of air called a channel. When the lightning is gone, the pocket collapses in on itself causing the sound. It is like a balloon popping. This is what is going on during a thunderstorm. They also can contain supercells, which can spawn or create tornadoes. Tornadoes are a rotating column of air that spins very fast. They are made up of a giant cloud that stretches from above to the ground. Tornadoes can have violent winds and lots of rain. Tornadoes can do lots of damage, so it is important to take shelter during a tornado. Tornadoes are usually formed in severe thunderstorms. In the thunderstorm, there can be warm air and cold air. The warm air rises and the cold air sinks. That rising and sinking pattern creates rotation. This only happens sometimes. The spinning part actually is laid on it’s side. Strong winds from the storm tilt the tornado into a swirling column of clouds. That is how a tornado forms. Tornadoes can have high winds which can be damaging. It is important to stay safe by going to the interior room or the basement of your house or apartment. You should also bring a mattress or pillows to protect you from flying debris.