Storms are exceptional weather phenomena caused by an atmospheric disturbance which are usually accompanied by heavy precipitation and strong winds exceeding wind speeds of 75km/h (wind force 9). In the temperate zones, stroms mainly occur during autumn and winter.

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How do storms develop?

The weather describes the condition of the atmosphere in a certain place and at a particular time. Air pressure, temperature and precipitation are the most relevant parameters of the weather. The atmospheric circulation is driven by the solar energy input and by the distribution of land and sea. It forms the typical weather patterns which are defined by characteristic air pressure and temperature schemes.


During storms the differences in air pressure and temperature are particularly strong. Depending on the location various storm phenomena can occur. In mid-latitudes winter storms are predominant where as in lower latitudes tropical storms like hurricanes or typhoons develop. Other phenomena like thunderstorms are more controlled by regional or local factors and occur independent from the large-scale climate zones.


The following weather phenomena are described under the generic term "storm":

What type of damage does occur?

Storms are responsible for dramatic effects: Winter storms and tropical storms have particular strong gale forces which cause damage. For human beings and animals it is the strong electric current which is dangerous when hit by lightning. In addition, electric appliances are endangered during thunderstorms.



Hail stones can severely damage buildings, cars and agricultural crops.


The risk for damage by a storm are not only the direct but much more the indirect effects: in most cases storms are accompanied by strong precipitation which causes flooding or mass movements like slope failures. Along the sea coast winter storms or tropical storms can trigger storm surges. The electric discharge of a lightning can set fire to forest or buildings.