Wind is whirling. Rain is pouring down onto the earth. Lightning strikes and you hear a loud (thunder) "BOOM!" This is a severe thunderstorm.
How Thunderstorms Form
- Atmosphere air must be warm & surface air must be cool (Convection)
- Occurs in a warm front
- To occur there must be unstable air and moisture
Stevens Pass Avalanche - 1910
In 1910 tragedy struck, killing 96 people. First a blizzard forming into a thunderstorm making rocks tumble at Stevens Pass Ski Resort. As the rocks fell they made trees fall and did damage to everything near. The trees started rolling with the rocks and created even more damage. The rocks and trees fell down the mountain onto a railroad track just as a train was going by. At the very bottom of the mountain was Tye River, where the train had been pushed into kill those on the train and near.
Stevens Pass Avalanche - 2012
Because of a thunderstorm there had been rocks that had fallen, yet they were smaller, people were still worried that it would be as disastrous as the avalanche in 1910. The ski resort staff evacuated the whole area. The rocks were stopped by the trees in the forest below, but no one knew. People still panicking waiting for disaster to strike people never thought it would be over. People had heard nothing about disaster at the resort for weeks and finally had felt safe from tragedy.
How Do We Prepare?
We can prepare for huge thunderstorms by keeping track of our local weather and our weekly weather. Our weather comes from the west so if you see the weather west of where you live you can see what weather you might have in a few days. You can look at the sky and if there are dark grey, puffy clouds (cumulonimbus clouds) you can expect a thunderstorm. During a thunderstorm stay inside a room with little or no windows and preferably concrete walls. Basements work perfectly!