A storm is any disturbed state of an environment or astronomical body's atmosphere especially affecting its surface, and strongly implying severe weather. It may be marked by significant disruptions to normal conditions such as strong wind, hail, thunder and lightning (a thunderstorm), heavy precipitation (snowstorm, rainstorm), heavy freezing rain (ice storm), strong winds (tropical cyclone, windstorm), or wind transporting some substance through the atmosphere as in a dust storm, blizzard, sandstorm, etc.
Storms have the potential to harm lives and property via storm surge, heavy rain or snow causing flooding or road impassibility, lightning, wildfires, and vertical wind shear; however, systems with significant rainfall and duration help alleviate drought in places they move through. Heavy snowfall can allow special recreational activities to take place which would not be possible otherwise, such as skiing and snowmobiling.
Ice storm — Ice storms are one of the most dangerous forms of winter storms. When surface temperatures are below freezing, but a thick layer of above-freezing air remains aloft, rain can fall into the freezing layer and freeze upon impact into a glaze of ice. In general, 8 millimetres (0.31 in) of accumulation is all that is required, especially in combination with breezy conditions, to start downing power lines as well as tree limbs. Ice storms also make unheated road surfaces too slick to drive upon. Ice storms can vary in time range from hours to days and can cripple small towns and large urban centers alike.
Blizzard — There are varying definitions for blizzards, both over time and by location. In general, a blizzard is accompanied by gale-force winds, heavy snow (accumulating at a rate of at least 5 centimeters (2 in) per hour), and very cold conditions (below approximately -10 degrees Celsius or 14 F). Lately, the temperature criterion has fallen out of the definition across the United States
Snowstorm — A heavy fall of snow accumulating at a rate of more than 5 centimeters (2 in) per hour that lasts several hours. Snow storms, especially ones with a high liquid equivalent and breezy conditions, can down tree limbs, cut off power, and paralyze travel over a large region.
Storms do not only occur on Earth; other planetary bodies with a sufficient atmosphere (gas giants in particular) also undergo stormy weather. The Great Red Spot on Jupiter provides a well-known example. Though technically an anticyclone with greater than hurricane wind speeds, it is larger than the Earth and has persisted for at least 340 years, having first been observed by astronomer Galileo Galilei. Neptune also had its own lesser-known Great Dark Spot.
Shipwrecks are common with the passage of strong tropical cyclones. Such shipwrecks can change the course of history, as well as influence art and literature. A hurricane led to a victory of the Spanish over the French for control of Fort Caroline, and ultimately the Atlantic coast of North America, in 1565.
Strong winds from any storm type can damage or destroy vehicles, buildings, bridges, and other outside objects, turning loose debris into deadly flying projectiles. In the United States, major hurricanes comprise just 21% of all landfalling tropical cyclones, but account for 83% of all damage. Tropical cyclones often knock out power to tens or hundreds of thousands of people, preventing vital communication and hampering rescue efforts. Tropical cyclones often destroy key bridges, overpasses, and roads, complicating efforts to transport food, clean water, and medicine to the areas that need it. Furthermore, the damage caused by tropical cyclones to buildings and dwellings can result in economic damage to a region, and to a diaspora of the population of the region
Hail can cause serious damage, notably to automobiles, aircraft, skylights, glass-roofed structures, livestock, and most commonly, farmers' crops. Wheat, corn, soybeans, and tobacco are the most sensitive crops to hail damage. Hail is one of Canada's most expensive hazards. Snowfall can be beneficial to agriculture by serving as a thermal insulator, conserving the heat of the Earth and protecting crops from subfreezing weather. Some agricultural areas depend on an accumulation of snow during winter that will melt gradually in spring, providing water for crop growth. If it melts into water and refreezes upon sensitive crops, such as oranges, the resulting ice will protect the fruit from exposure to lower temperatures. Although tropical cyclones take an enormous toll in lives and personal property, they may be important factors in the precipitation regimes of places they affect and bring much-needed precipitation to otherwise dry regions. Hurricanes in the eastern north Pacific often supply moisture to the Southwestern United States and parts of Mexico. Japan receives over half of its rainfall from typhoons. Hurricane Camille averted drought conditions and ended water deficits along much of its path, though it also killed 259 people and caused $9.14 billion (2005 USD) in damage.
As the aircraft passes into the region of the downdraft, the localized headwind diminishes, reducing the aircraft's airspeed and increasing its sink rate. Then, when the aircraft passes through the other side of the downdraft, the headwind becomes a tailwind, reducing lift generated by the wings, and leaving the aircraft in a low-power, low-speed descent. This can lead to an accident if the aircraft is too low to effect a recovery before ground contact. As the result of the accidents in the 1970s and 1980s, in 1988 the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration mandated that all commercial aircraft have on-board wind shear detection systems by 1993. Between 1964 and 1985, wind shear directly caused or contributed to 26 major civil transport aircraft accidents in the U.S. that led to 620 deaths and 200 injuries. Since 1995, the number of major civil aircraft accidents caused by wind shear has dropped to approximately one every ten years, due to the mandated on-board detection as well as the addition of Doppler weather radar units on the ground. (NEXRAD)
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