Storms and Other Weather Events

supercell thunderstorm moving across northeast Colorado
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.
cold front causing a thunderstorm

Most thunderstorms form with three stages: the cumulus stage when storm clouds form, the mature stage when the storm is fully formed, and then the dissipating stage when the storm weakens and breaks apart.

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?
Lightning is the most spectacular element of a thunderstorm. Learn how lightning forms, and how lightning leads to thunder.
tornado
A dark funnel of cloud extends below a storm. If it reaches the ground, it’s a tornado.
Only about one thunderstorm in a thousand produces tornadoes. So how do tornadoes form?
Tornadoes, also called twisters, are columns of air rotating dangerously fast. Find out where they happen.
hurricane

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. 

NASA simulation of hurricane Sandy approaching the east coast of the US

Off the west coast of Africa, just north of the equator, a thunderstorm forms. It is just a typical towering thunderstorm cloud, but it might grow into something quite different – a hurricane.

Home in New Orleans damaged by a hurricane

When a hurricane approaches land, tremendous damage can occur to coastal cities and towns. Hurricanes impact natural environments along a coast too. Huge amounts of beach sand are moved from place to place. Even large boulders can be carried in the powerful surge of ocean water. High winds can topple trees. And low-lying areas are often flooded. The amount of damage depends on the strength of a storm and what it hits. 

Storm surge caused by Hurricane Sandy

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

Car buried in snow
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.
snow blowing in a field
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.
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?
Can you predict if it will rain, sleet, or snow? Test your forecasting skills!
A large hailstone
Snowflakes are not the only type of icy precipitation. Find out about other types of ice that fall from the sky.
two snowflakes
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.
NASA Global Hawk airplane

Short video clips about weather - including weather measurements and several weather

A diagram of air masses

Photos, diagrams, and other images related to weather.