Weather Phenomena

Earth is a dynamic planet that changes daily. Weather patterns and events are a tremendous part of that change. While these patterns and events are necessary for our planet to continue to be life-sustaining, they can also cause substantial damage and sometimes cost billions of dollars in repair and rescue efforts.

1. Blizzard

Defined by visibility and not amounts of snowfall, blizzards pose a substantial threat to travel and safety. Learn more about the whiteout weather phenomenon here.

2. Fog

Fog is a fascinating event that occurs when the air temperature cools and condenses water molecules from a gas to a liquid. Learn more about the type of weather famously described as ‘as thick as pea soup’.

3. Frost

Frost is a beautiful and majestic phenomenon that is usually one of the first signals that winter is on its way. It requires three things in order to form – higher levels of water vapor in the air, low wind speeds, and low temperatures overnight. Learn more about this frosty event here.

4. Hailstorm

Forming at high altitudes in massive Cumulonimbus clouds, hail can grow as big as 8 inches or more and fall at velocities over 100 miles per hour. It has the potential to cause damage to vehicles and more.

5. Heat Wave

While less spectacular and less visible than other weather phenomena, heat waves can be considered among the most dangerous to humans and animals. Temperatures spike above normal and remain there for days or weeks.

6. Hurricane

With wind speeds exceeding 150 miles per hour and a diameters over 350 miles, hurricanes are among the most devastating weather phenomena.

7. Lightning

Capable of voltage upwards of 1 Billion volts, lightning is spectacularly brilliant and dangerous at the same time. A thunderstorm’s static discharge, a number of steps must occur prior to an actual strike.

8. Rain

Rain is a necessary requisite for the survival of most life on Earth. In large quantities it can quickly become a disaster. Learn more about this essential weather event here.

9. Rainbow

Rainbows are as much atmospheric optical phenomena as they are weather events, and can only occur under certain conditions. A number of amazing physical processes occur in order for us to be able to see one.

10. Snow

The object of a substantial number of poems and Christmas carols, snow can be calming, peaceful, damaging or dangerous depending on circumstances. It’s unique properties allow it to accumulate at a much faster rate than rain.

11. Thunderstorm

When an unstable atmosphere gives way to Cumulonimbus clouds, and large electrical imbalances begin to form a thunderstorm is near. With potential for hail, high winds and tornadoes it is one of nature’s most dynamic events.

12. Tornado

Tornadoes require several conditions to develop, including a wind speed that increases with altitude and then a supercell. Once formed, the wind speeds have the potential to exceed 200 miles per hour.