How Are Storms Created?


Quick Answer

Storms form due to changes in the Earth's atmosphere and surface. According to National Storm Damage Center, the most common types of storms in the U.S. are hailstorms, thunderstorms and tornadoes. Other storms include blizzards, floods, derecho storms, tropical storms and hurricanes.

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How Are Storms Created?
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Full Answer

Hail storms form when strong updraft winds cycle precipitation up towards the top of a cloud, freezing and turning into hail along the way. Hail stones come in varying shapes and sizes, ranging from 0.2 inches to 0.75 inches. The largest hailstone ever recorded in the United States was 8 inches in diameter and weighed nearly 2 pounds, according to National Storm Damage Center.

Hailstorms usually come from thunderstorms due to the combination of sub-freezing temperatures and moist air in the clouds. The largest type of storm cell, a supercell, produces many hazardous weather conditions, including hail more than 4 inches in diameter and tornadoes. Although thunderstorms are very common, they can be dangerous, especially in states like States like Kansas and Oklahoma where extreme weather frequently occurs.

Tornadoes are usually preceded by heavy thunderstorms and have been recorded to reach speeds of 300 mph. The most damage happens in "tornado alley," which includes states such as Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Missouri.

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