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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

What Causes a Thunderstorm?

12/17/2020 (Permalink)

Storm Clouds over a field with SERVPRO logo SERVPRO of Bay County provides storm damage restoration in Panama City, Lynn Haven, and surrounding areas.

Panama City, Panama City Beach, and the surrounding communities in Bay County, Florida are no strangers to thunderstorms.  Our area is prone to quick changes in weather conditions, sometimes severe, and with little warning.  Since thunderstorms are such a frequent occurrence on the Gulf Coast, and can cause damages to your home or business, it is important to understand what causes thunderstorms, and how to be better prepared for them.

Thunderstorms- What Causes Them?

According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, three basic ingredients are required for a thunderstorm to form:

  1. Moisture
  2. Rising, Unstable Air
  3. A Lifting Mechanism

The process of thunderstorm formation begins with the sun heating the surface of the Earth.  This, in turn, heats the air just above the Earth’s surface.  Because warm air is less dense than cool air, warm air will begin to rise.  As this rising warm air interacts with various elements of the Earth’s surface terrain (hills, mountains, or pockets of cooler air) it continues to be pushed higher into the atmosphere.  As this air reaches the cooler areas of the atmosphere, it also begins to cool, allowing the moisture contained within to condense, beginning cloud formation.  As more particles of continuously cooling moisture gather, they begin to “bounce off of” one another within the cloud.  These collisions eventually build up large reactions of electric charge, resulting in lightning, which creates the soundwave we know as thunder.

Thunderstorms – How to Prepare?

Thunderstorms are most likely to occur in spring and summer months, when the surface of the Earth reaches higher temperatures, but can take place at any time of the year.  In the Gulf Coast region, these storms occur most frequently in the afternoon.  Knowing this, here are a few tips for thunderstorm preparation:

  1. Keep you roof gutters cleared, especially in the spring and summer months. Debris in gutters can cause rainwater to back up onto your roof, which can result in property damage.
  2. Follow your local weather forecast. Although many thunderstorms can occur quickly, it is important to be weather aware when living in a region prone to thunderstorms.
  3. Since lighting is one of the most dangerous components of a thunderstorm, be sure to practice lightning safety: during a thunderstorm, stay away from windows and doors, avoid using electronic devices that are connected to the wall, and avoid using plumbing, as metal pipes can conduct electricity.

SERVPRO of Bay County values the safety of our community members as well as their properties. In the unfortunate event a thunderstorm or other natural disaster has affected your home our business, give us a call at 850-785-1077, We’re Here to Help!

source: https://www.nssl.noaa.gov/education/svrwx101/thunderstorms/

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