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Each day over 40,000 thunderstorms are taking place on earth. A thunderstorm is a form of weather characterized by the presence of lightning and its acoustic effect on the Earth's atmosphere known as thunder. The meteorologically assigned cloud type associated with the thunderstorm is the cumulonimbus. Thunderstorms can generally form and develop in any geographic location, perhaps most frequently within areas located at mid-latitude when warm moist air collides with cooler air. They are the result from the rapid upward movement of warm, moist air. They can occur inside warm, moist air masses and at fronts. As the warm, moist air moves upward, it cools, condenses, and forms cumulonimbus clouds that can reach heights of over 20 km. As the rising air reaches its dew point, water droplets and ice form and begin falling the long distance through the clouds towards the Earth's surface. As the droplets fall, they collide with other droplets and become larger. The falling droplets create a downdraft of air that spreads out at the Earth's surface and causes strong winds associated with thunderstorms. Thunderstorms include several different characteristics such as strong winds, heavy rain and sometimes snow, sleet, hail, or even no precipitation at all. Those which cause hail to fall are known as hailstorms. Thunderstorms may line up in a series or rainband, known as a squall line. Strong or severe thunderstorms may rotate, known as a supercell. While most thunderstorms move with the mean wind flow through the layer of the troposphere that they occupy, vertical wind shear causes a deviation in their course at a right angle to the wind shear direction. Thunderstorms and the phenomena that occur along with them, pose great hazards to populations and landscapes. Damage that results from thunderstorms is mainly inflicted by downburst winds, large hailstones, and flash flooding caused by heavy precipitation. Stronger thunderstorm cells are capable of producing tornadoes and...
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