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How do storms occur?

A tornado near Anadarko, Oklahoma A tornado near Anadarko, Oklahoma Stormy weather means high winds and heavy rain or snow. In some parts of the world, the extremely fast-moving winds of hurricanes and tornadoes may be powerful enough to cause severe damage and even loss of life. Heavy rainfall or blizzards often also result in floods or mudslides. They may cause avalanches in mountainous areas.

Forked lightning during a thunderstormForked lightning during a thunderstorm


Thunderclouds form when warm, moist air rises quickly. As water droplets and ice crystals in the air bump together, they produce electricity. We see this as lightning. The heat of the lightning flash causes the air around it to expand rapidly, making the boom of thunder.


A cross-section through a hurricaneA cross-section through a hurricanePort Arthur, Texas, flooded after Hurricane HarveyPort Arthur, Texas, flooded after Hurricane HarveyA hurricane (known as a typhoon in the Pacific, or a tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean) is a storm that occurs in tropical regions. It begins when warm, moist air rises high above the oceans. The air begins to swirl around in a spiral. Clouds form and massive downpours follow. Very powerful winds rage around a calm centre, called the “eye” of the storm. When a hurricane moves across land, it can cause great damage, ripping up trees and overturning cars. Flooding often results from a hurricane.

A tornado destroys a village.A tornado destroys a village.


Lightning is a huge flash of electricity. As a lightning bolt shoots through the air, the intense heat causes the air around it to expand extremely quickly. Thunder is the sound made by lightning.

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