Satellite photo of a hurricane

Storms and Other Weather

Discover the weather conditions necessary for blizzards, tornados, hurricanes, and more


Right now there are about two thousand thunderstorms going on around the world. While common, they are dramatic with intense rain, hail, wind, lightning, thunder, and even tornadoes.

How Thunderstorms Form

Have you ever wondered about what atmospheric conditions are needed for a thunderstorm to form?

Where Thunderstorms Happen

Some places in the United States have more thunderstorms that other areas. What is the average number of thunderstorm days in your state?

Thunder and Lightning

Lightning is the most spectacular element of a thunderstorm. Learn how lightning forms, how lightning leads to thunder, and about the types of lightning that occur.


A dark funnel of cloud extends below a storm. If it reaches the ground, it’s a tornado.

How Tornadoes Form

Only about one thunderstorm in a thousand produces tornadoes. So how do tornadoes form?

Where Tornadoes Happen

Tornadoes, also called twisters, are columns of air rotating dangerously fast. Find out where they happen.


A strong hurricane can spell disaster. These huge storms are the most powerful of all weather systems. Learn about how they form and the impacts they can have.

How Hurricanes Form

Tropical storms can grow into hurricanes, and hurricanes can grow into stronger hurricanes. However, only a small number of storms grow into tropical storms. Even fewer become hurricanes. Learn what is necessary for hurricanes to form.

Hurricane Damage

When a hurricane approaches land, tremendous damage can occur to coastal cities and natural environments. Learn about the potential hazards and how to predict the amount of damage done by a hurricane when it hits.

What Causes Storm Surge?

Learn about the many factors that impact how much storm surge floods a coast as a hurricane or tropical storm comes ashore. 

What Are Monsoons and Why Do They Happen?

Monsoons produce the very wet summers and dry winters that occur on nearly all of the tropical continents. A monsoon is not a storm like a hurricane or a summer thunderstorm, but a much larger pattern of winds and rain that spans a large geographic area – a continent or even the entire globe.

Winter Storms

Hoping for a snow day? A snow storm is just one kind of winter storm. Learn what happens when a winter storm occurs, and how this might affect us.


High winds can send snow flying through the air, reducing visibility and causing power outages. That's just some of what you can expect from a blizzard.

Icy Winter Weather

When meteorologists forecast a winter storm one of the important predictions they make is the type, or types, of precipitation that are likely to fall. Will freezing rain cause an ice storm? Will ice pellets called sleet leave the ground covered in slush? Will it rain or snow?

Will It Rain, Sleet, or Snow?

Can you predict if it will rain, sleet, or snow? Test your forecasting skills!

Icy Precipitation

Snowflakes are not the only type of icy precipitation. Find out about other types of ice that fall from the sky.


Some snowflakes are made of a single ice crystal while other, more elaborate, snowflakes are made of as many as 200 ice crystals fused together.