The basics of thunderstorms were covered in the previous chapter. Here we cover thunderstorm hazards:
- hail and heavy rain,
- downbursts and gust fronts,
- lightning and thunder
- tornadoes and mesocyclones.
Two other hazards were covered in the previous chapter: turbulence and vigorous updrafts.
In spite of their danger, thunderstorms can also produce the large-diameter rain drops that enable beautiful rainbows (Fig. 15.1).
- 15.4: Tornadoes
- Tornadoes are violently rotating, small-diameter columns of air in contact with the ground. Diameters range from 10 to 1000 m, with an average of about 100 m. In the center of the tornado is very low pressure (order of 10 kPa lower than ambient). Tornadoes are usually formed by thunderstorms, but most thunderstorms do not spawn tornadoes. The strongest tornadoes come from supercell thunderstorms. Tornadoes have been observed with a wide variety of shapes.