This cumulonimbus cloud has the characteristic anvil-shaped top.
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Courtesy of UCAR Digital Image Library
Thunderstorms are one of the most exciting and dangerous types of weather. Over 40,000 thunderstorms happen around the world each day.
Thunderstorms form when very warm, moist air rises into cold air. As this air rises, water vapor condenses and forms huge cumulonimbus clouds.
There are two main types of thunderstorms: ordinary and severe. Ordinary thunderstorms usually last about one hour and can produce rain and small hail.
Severe thunderstorms are very dangerous. They can produce baseball-sized hail, strong winds, intense rain, flash floods, and tornadoes. Severe thunderstorms can last several hours.
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