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Cloud Formation and Precipitation

 

We know that thunderstorms are the most common weather phenomena, originating from the internal parts of continents, and they usually occur in the northern hemisphere. When the sun sets and the temperature rises, the moist air mass is forced upwards and expands, eventually condensing to form rain. This main characteristic of thunderstorms is the distribution of rainfall, with more falling on windward slopes while leeward slopes remain dry.

Temperature of the air

The temperature of the air during rain is dependent on the type of precipitation. Precipitation that falls from the air is classified as either rain or snow. Precipitation that is above freezing is called rain, while precipitation below zero degrees Celsius is known as snow. However, precipitation that falls from the sky at a temperature of one or two degrees above freezing is called sleet. Regardless of the precipitation type, it is important to know that it may be a combination of both.

Temperature of the ground

Snow and sleet are types of precipitation that fall to the ground. Snow falls when the air temperature is below freezing and reaches the ground. It melts as it touches the ground, but is still classified as sleet if it is heavy. The temperature of the ground after rain depends on how much precipitation has fallen, which may be a lot or a little. It is important to note that the ground temperature is below freezing for sleet to form.

Cloud formation

The basic process of cloud formation is to transform water from a solid state to a gas. The process involves a series of deposition and absorption processes. During rain, these processes are observed. Clouds take on different forms that can be observed in nature. The following are some of them. The following lesson plan is a great starting point for teaching kids about cloud formation. It includes a PDF file with the lesson plan.
Precipitation intensity

During mid-winter, when snowpacks have been consolidated, rainfall onto the snowpack can result in high stream flows and flooding, and increase the risk of snow avalanches. In this case, the intensity of precipitation is extremely important in forecasting such a situation. The Central Sierra Snow Laboratory has analyzed 120 rain-on-snow storms and found that precipitation intensity varied widely from less than one mm/hr to as high as 27 mm/hr.
Hail stones

Why do hailstones form during rain? Hailstones form inside cumulonimbus thunderstorm clouds that tower over 50,000 feet. These clouds are composed of warm air in the lower portions and freezing air at the top. Strong winds carry raindrops up and into the upper portion of the cloud, where they freeze into ice crystals. The particles then fall back to earth as ice and collect additional water droplets. The process can be repeated for several hours, but the hailstones rarely melt before they hit the ground.
Windward slopes

The observed patterns of rain are the result of comparing radar rates with those measured by the gage. Rain on windward slopes is typically under-estimated due to orographic effects caused by the upslope wind. Radar measurements are based on data from selected up and foothill stations in the Sierra. The results were compared to measurements taken at the two-hourly intervals from December 1962 through January 1963.
Vancouver, British Columbia is the capital of rain

The recent floods in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada have left residents stranded in their vehicles and their homes. Officials have called the flooding the worst in a century, and the resulting damage was much worse than forecasted. More than 17,700 people were ordered to leave their homes, dozens of bridges were washed away, and military helicopters rescued hundreds of people. The provincial government declared a state of emergency, and warned residents to evacuate immediately. They also warned people to stay away from flood-prone areas and not to move goods.
Other places that get a lot of rain

Heavy rain is a curse and a blessing to any city, but no place can do without it. In fact, some cities receive the most rainfall each year, despite being in tropical locations. Tutunendo in Colombia is one such place, gaining notoriety for its unrelenting rain. It’s located at the banks of the Atrato River and is surrounded by lush tropical rainforest. It’s 40 miles from the Pacific Ocean and can only be reached by air.