Storm

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A storm (from Proto-Germanic *sturmaz "noise, tumult") is any disturbed state of an astronomical body's atmosphere, especially affecting its surface, and strongly implying severe weather. It may be marked by strong wind, thunder and lightning (a thunderstorm), heavy precipitation, such as ice (ice storm), or wind transporting some substance through the atmosphere (as in a dust storm, snowstorm, hailstorm, etc.).

Contents

Formation

Storms are created when a center of low pressure develops, with a system of high pressure surrounding it. This combination of opposing forces can create winds and result in the formation of storm clouds, such as the cumulonimbus. Small, localized areas of low pressure can form from hot air rising off hot ground, resulting in smaller disturbances such as dust devils and whirlwinds.

Types

There are many varieties and names for storms.

  • Ice Storm - Ice storms are one of the most dangerous forms of winter weather. When surface temperatures are below freezing, but a thick layer of above freezing air remains aloft above ground level, rain can fall into the freezing layer and freeze upon impact into a "glaze". In general, 8 millimeters (1/4 in) of accumulation is all that is required, especially in combination with breezy conditions, to start downing power lines as well as tree limbs.[1] Ice storms also make unheated road surfaces too slick to drive upon. Ice storms can vary in time range from hours to days and can cripple both small towns and large urban centers alike.
  • Blizzard - There are varying definitions for blizzards, both over time and by location. In general, a blizzard is accompanied by gale-force winds, heavy snow (accumulating at a rate of at least 5 centimeters (2 in) per hour), and very cold conditions (below approximately -10 degrees Celsius or 14 F). As of late, the temperature criterion has fallen out of the definition across the United States[2]
  • Snowstorm - A heavy fall of snow accumulating at a rate of more than 5 centimeters (2 in) per hour that lasts several hours. Snow storms, especially ones with a high liquid equivalent and breezy conditions, can down tree limbs, cut off power, and paralyze travel over a large region.
    Sea storm, west coast of Portugal
  • Ocean Storm - Storm conditions out at sea are defined as having sustained winds of 48 knots (55 mph or 90 km/h) or greater.[3] Usually just referred to as a storm, these systems can sink vessels of all types and sizes.
  • Firestorm - Firestorms are conflagrations which attain such intensity that they create and sustain their own wind systems. It is most commonly a natural phenomenon, created during some of the largest bushfires, forest fires, and wildfires. The Peshtigo Fire is one example of a firestorm. Firestorms can also be deliberate effects of targeted explosives such as occurred as a result of the aerial bombings of Dresden and Tokyo during World War II. Nuclear detonations almost invariably generate firestorms
  • Dust devil - a small, localized updraft of rising air.
  • Windstorm - A storm marked by high wind with little or no precipitation.[4] Windstorm damage often opens the door for massive amounts of water and debris to cause further damage to a structure.[5] European windstorms and derechos are two type of windstorms.[6]
  • Squall - sudden onset of wind increase of at least 16 knots (30 km/h) or greater sustained for at least one minute.
  • Gale - An extratropical storm with sustained winds between 34-48 knots (39-55 mph or 63–90 km/h).[3]

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