Thunderstorm

Thunderstorms are electrical discharge phenomena within high cumulus clouds, accompanied with lightning, thunder and showers. They result from intense and vertical transport of air masses from the bottom of the atmosphere.


Gewitterwolke über dem Mittelland

Thunderstorms in Switzerland

Convective thunderstorms  are the most common type of storms. Frontal thunderstorms occur less frequently and are less severe. 

 

Convective thunderstorms frequent arise in Switzerland during the hot summer months. The country’s strong topography often promotes the heating up and subsequent rise of humid air masses and this can result in the formation of towering cumulonimbus clouds. The strong up and down winds generate electrical currents which are dissipated in lightning. 

 

Lightning often cause fires which can spread to buildings and forests. Moreover, lightning can cause extensive damage to computers, televisions, telephone systems etc. as electronic components are damaged by power surges and overheating can cause the melting of chips and wires. Approximately 1,000 people die each year as a direct result of being struck by lightning , strong power surges and associated fires. 

 

In addition, strong storm squalls and hailstones can cause damage. In addition, other hazardous processes such as floodslandslides  and debris flows can also be triggered as a result of intensive precipitation.