MONSOON 2021: Taking a look at the cycle of a storm

Published: Jun. 14, 2021 at 4:28 PM MST|Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 7:42 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Monsoon is the time of the year when winds shift, bringing an increase in moisture to the Southwest.

The resulting storms can range from minor blowing dust to severe thunderstorms.

So what meteorological events are taking place to create the magic of a thunderstorm?

There are three basic stages.

The first stage of thunderstorm development is the updraft or cumulus stage. Daytime heating over the desert causes moist air to rise, which forms a cumulus cloud that can grow vertically to a height of 20,000 feet.

Little to no precipitation occurs during this stage.

Next comes the mature stage.

At this point, the cumulonimbus cloud has reached considerable height. This stage is characterized by updraft and downdraft coexisting. Downdrafts are associated with air that is pulled downward by precipitation.

This is the most dangerous stage of a thunderstorm.

Then we have the dissipating stage.

At this final stage, the downdraft overpowers the updraft, cutting off the supply of warm moist air which allows the storm to dissipate or collapse.

Light rain and weak winds may linger.

The next time you see a storm cloud developing or when a monsoon storm moves through your neighborhood, try to determine the stage.

And remember to be safe, when thunder roars, go indoors. When it floods, remember to “turn around, don’t drown.”

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