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SEVERE WEATHER NOTES

1. What are the 3 conditions needed for thunderstorm formation?


a. There must be an abundant source of moisture in the lower levels of the atmosphere.
b. Some mechanism must lift the air so that the moisture can condense and release
latent heat.
c. The portion of the atmosphere through which the cloud grows must be unstable.

2. What are the 3 steps in the lifecycle of a thunderstorm?


- The three stages of the life cycle of air mass thunderstorms: (a) cumulus stage, (b) mature
stage, and (c) decaying stage.

3. What is a tornado & how are they


- A tornado is a violent, whirling column of air
the ground.
- The scale ranges from F0, which is
characterized by winds of up to 118 km/h, to
violent F5, which can pack winds of more than 500 km/h.

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4. How do tropical cyclones (hurricanes) form?


- Tropical cyclones thrive on the tremendous amount of energy in warm, tropical oceans.
- This latent heat from water that has evaporated from the ocean is released when the air
begins to rise and water vapor condenses.
-Rising air creates an area of low pressure at the ocean surface.
-The cyclonic rotation of a tropical cyclone begins as warm air moves toward the lowpressure center to replace the air that has risen.

5. What are the stages of a tropical cyclone?


- Tropical cyclones usually begin as disturbances that originate either from the ITCZ or as
weak, low-pressure systems called tropical waves.
-Only a small percentage these ever develop into hurricanes because conditions throughout
the atmosphere must allow rising air to be dispersed into
the upper atmosphere.

- When a disturbance over a tropical ocean acquires a cyclonic circulation around a center
of low pressure, it is known as a tropical depression.
- When wind speeds around the low-pressure center of a
tropical depression exceed 65 km/h, the system is called a
tropical storm.
- If air pressure continues to fall and winds around the center reach
at least 120 km/h, the storm is officially classified as a hurricane
- Once a hurricane, the development of a calm center of the storm,
called an eye, takes place.
- The eyewall is a band immediately surrounding the eye that contains the strongest winds
in a hurricane.
6. How are tropical cyclones classified?
- The Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale classifies hurricanes according to wind speed, air
pressure in the center, and potential for property damage.
- The Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale ranges from Category 1 hurricanes to Category 5
storms, which can have winds in excess of 155 mph.
-Most of the deadliest hurricanes that strike the United States were classified as major
hurricanes.

7. What are the hurricane hazards?


- Hurricanes can cause a lot of damage, particularly along coastal areas.
- Much of this damage is associated with violent winds of the eyewall, the band about 40 to
80 km wide that surrounds the calm eye.
- The National Hurricane Center, which is responsible for tracking and forecasting the
intensity and motion of tropical cyclones in the western hemisphere, issues a hurricane
warning at least 24 hours before a hurricane strikes.
-The center also issues regular advisories that indicate a storms position, strength, and
movement.