Weather Forecasting

How do thunderstorms form?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. Thunderstorms need two basic elements to form. They need moisture and rapidly rising warm air, which is why they are more prevalent in the spring and summer months. When humid air that is saturated with water vapor is forced to rise quickly by high temperatures, it's easy for a thunderstorm to form. These storms involve large rainfalls, thunder and lightning. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service estimates that at any given time, there are 1,800 thunderstorms occurring. They also estimate that the planet generates nearly 16 million such storms a year, which typically last about half an hour and are about 15 miles wide.

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