Pop Goes The Thunderstorm: You Said It Wasn't Going To Rain

METEOROLOGIST STEVE FRAZIER @FRAZIERFOX9
METEOROLOGIST STEVE FRAZIER @FRAZIERFOX9

Its now officially summer and along with the heat, humidity and sun comes those afternoon storms. They pop in then they pop out, and with the exception of initiating a run for cover, they rarely turn severe."You said it wasn't going to rain" is a common statement heard by meteorologists. In the world of broadcast meteorology it usually takes a thirty percent chance before a thunderstorm icon is born.



There are days when we know well in advance that there will be good chances of storms and even severe weather. The main culprits are usually an intense area of low pressure or an advancing cold front. That's the easy forecast! We can monitor current conditions ahead and behind the front and pin point, almost to the hour, when the storms will fire.

THE POP UP THUNDERSTORM

These pesky storms are called by many names, some that I can't mention here. However, you have most likely heard them called "Garden Variety Storms, "Pulse Storms", "Air Mass Thunderstorms", "Popcorn Storms", and "Pop Up Storms".




VIEW FROM THE FOX 9 TOWERCAM LOOKING THROUGH A POP UP STORM


THE HAVES AND HAVE NOTS

That phrase pretty much sums up what most of us experience when it comes to the typical summertime storm. Its hot, its humid and its sunny. Warm air rises and takes the moisture along for the ride. The puffy cumulus clouds are born. Those cumulus clouds grow up and up and eventually drop rain, and sometimes much more. Once you turn off the heat source, the sun, the storms fall apart faster than a cheap paper towel.



FORECASTING THE POP UPS

Since these storms develop in an environment of instability, as opposed to a forceful environment, they tend to move more slowly, which can lead to localized flooding. These storms eventually can't grow anymore and stop developing rain. The rain that has been produced is loss, known as raining itself out, and the storm is gone. If the sun doesn't set on these storms first, the lack of shear, differential winds with height, will allow the updraft and down draft to cross paths and choke each other off, killing the storm.


STORMVISION RADAR JUNE 26, 2015

Now you know.

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