A thunderstorm is nothing more than millions of droplets of water vapor suspended in the atmosphere that produces lightning, rainfall, winds, hail or tornados. Thunderstorms form when instability in the atmosphere causes large clouds called cumulonimbus to form that reach great heights in the atmosphere. It is the great heights at which the storms grow to that cause a phenomena called lightning. Towards the tops of the thunderstorms the water droplets become super cooled to temperatures as low as -60 degrees celsius. Supercooled means that the drops of water have not turned into a solid (ice) however it is still at the very cold temperatures. At the very top of a thunderstorm there is a region known as the anvil. This is where the thunderstorm cannot reach anymore height in the atmosphere due to the stratosphere being stable so the cloud only has one way to go now instead of straight up. The cloud starts to spread out along the bottom of the stratosphere, much like steam spreads out along a roof in the kitchen. This is often the high whispy looking cloud you see at the top of a thunderstorm. Dust and other matter gets sucked into the thunderstorm when it is growing in its size and it is at this point that if a supercooled water droplet comes in contact with a piece of dust, it will immediately turn to a solid (ice).

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