What is thunderstorm actually?

Thunderstorms are an impressive natural phenomenon that occurs during heavy rain showers. It brings flashes of lightning and loud claps of thunder. This article will provide you with a better understanding of the causes and characteristics of thunderstorms, as well as some precautions you can take to stay safe.


What causes thunderstorms?

Thunderstorms occur when there are electrical charges in the atmosphere that discharge rapidly. These charges can be generated by the friction between ice and water particles in large rain and thunder clouds, also known as cumulonimbus clouds. This friction creates an electrical tension that eventually leads to a discharge.


Lightning: An electric light show

The discharge of electrical charges results in the familiar lightning bolts we see during thunderstorms. Lightning flashes are bright, intense bursts of electrical energy that jump from one place to another. They can occur between clouds, between a cloud and the ground, or even within a single cloud. The intense heat of the lightning flash heats the surrounding air up to 30,000 degrees Celsius, creating a shockwave that we hear as thunder.


Thunder: The sound of discharge

The shockwave created by the heat of the lightning flash causes vibrations in the air. These vibrations travel as sound waves and reach us as a loud bang, which we call thunder. Because light travels faster than sound, we see the lightning flash first and hear the thunder later. By measuring the time between seeing the lightning and hearing the thunder, we can estimate the distance to the thunderstorm.


Other characteristics and hazards

Thunderstorms are often accompanied by other phenomena such as heavy rainfall, strong gusts of wind, hail, and even tornadoes. These can pose additional risks, including flooding, damage to buildings, and dangerous flying objects. It is therefore important to take precautions during thunderstorms and stay indoors, away from open areas, trees, water, and metal objects, as they can attract lightning strikes.