Friday, June 4, 2010

NEQ Friday Review, V.5

There's been a whole bunch of talk about hurricanes recently and The Northeast Quadrant is no exception. But what ever happened to the good ol' fashion thunderstorm?

You do know it takes just one run-of-the-mill thunderstorm to multiply into hundreds which then transforms into thousands of organized clusters of storms that could develop into one intense low pressure center, which if in a favorable atmospheric and oceanic environment could become a tropical storm or hurricane, right?

Today's NEQ Friday Review delves deeper into the thunderstorm and explains a little more about them for those less versed in the science.

Thunderstorms generally form when moisture, an unstable airmass, and a lifting force all come together. Thunderstorms go through three stages, the developing stage, the mature stage, and the dissipation stage, and depending on the conditions present in the atmosphere, these three stages take an average of 30 minutes to go through.

There are four types of thunderstorms:

1) Single-cell thunderstorms are generally poorly organized and form when there is not much wind shear. These storms typically last less than one hour.

2) Multicell cluster thunderstorms occur when a group of cells move as a single unit, with each cell in a different stage of the thunderstorm life cycle. Multicell thunderstorms can produce moderate size hail, flash floods and weak tornadoes.

3) Multicell line thunderstorms consist of a line of storms with a continuous, well developed gust front at the leading edge. Also known as squall lines, these storms can produce small to moderate size hail, occasional flash floods and weak tornadoes.

4) Supercell thunderstorms (my favorite) is a thunderstorm with a deep rotating updraft (mesocyclone) that generally produces severe weather, including heavy winds, large hail, heavy rainfall, and sometimes strong and long-lived tornadoes. There are three types of supercells: classic supercells, HP (high precipitation) supercells, and LP (low precipitation supercells). A single supercell can last several hours.

Some of the most powerful thunderstorms on Earth occur right here in the United States as a result of frequently clashing air masses. Florida's Gulf Coast experiences the greatest number of thunderstorms of any U.S. location. On average, thunderstorms occur in the "Sunshine State" 130 days per year....

But if you want to see some really good, intense thunderstorms, head here in the month of May!

Have a great weekend and keep an eye to the sky!