Severe Weather 101

Step into the wild world of weather!

What is a wall cloud? What's the difference between a watch and a warning? Is it ever “too cold to snow”? Learn all about thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail, lightning, floods, damaging winds and severe winter weather.


There can be as many as 40,000 thunderstorms each day around the world. They are most common in the U.S., where they can produce tornadoes, floods, lightning and damaging winds.

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Much about tornadoes remains a mystery. They are rare, unpredictable and deadly. The U.S. has more tornadoes than anywhere else in the world.

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Except for heat-related fatalities, more deaths occur from flooding than any other weather-related hazard.

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Lightning is one of the oldest observed natural phenomena on earth. At the same time, it also is one of the least understood.

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Hail can cause billions of dollars of damage to structures, crops and livestock.

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Damaging Winds

Straight-line winds are responsible for most thunderstorm damage. These winds can cause as much damage as a tornado.

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Winter Weather

Forecasting winter weather accurately is very difficult because a degree or two of temperature change can mean the difference between snow or freezing rain.

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