Thunderstorms Storm Through SYC

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Thunderstorms Storm Through SYC

Annie Hebel, News Editor

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Thunderstorms are always a prominent part of summer weather. However, last week alone, Southern York County experienced three severe thunderstorms. This is an unusually high number in a short time, and more are on the horizon.

All of these storms produced hail and strong winds and caused power outages. Many surrounding counties, such as Adams and Dolphin, were issued tornado warnings.

Susquehannock High School lost power during the spring orchestra concert last week, plunging the auditorium into darkness in the middle of the performance.

Hail can cause damage to homes, cars and other property.

So why have there been so many thunderstorms in such a short time?

Thunderstorms are caused by three conditions – moisture, unstable air (temperature differences) and a “lifting system” to keep air moving.

When the sun heats the surface of the earth, it naturally heats the air as well. If this wet, hot air meets an obstacle that forces it to rise, such as a hill or a mountain, it will continue to rise, until it weighs more than other air pockets around it.

As this air rises, the water vapor it contains begins to cool down and condense, or form water droplets, eventually forming a cloud. When this air reaches a place where the temperature is below freezing, ice starts to form within the cloud. Eventually, the ice drops become too heavy for the cloud, and they fall out, precipitating onto the earth’s surface.

Sometimes, when chunks collide as they’re falling, pieces of ice will chip apart. Many of these small bangs collectively create an electric charge within the cloud, which leads to a bolt of lightning. The sound waves produced by this reaction form thunder.

Because of the specific conditions required to create a thunderstorm, warm summers on the east coast is the perfect breeding ground for large storms.

To make matters worse, the unpredictable temperatures Pennsylvania has been experiencing lately make the air more unstable than usual.

It is important to remember the danger that these storms can possess, from lightning and wind to hail and tornadoes. If a severe storm is approaching, be sure to take cover, find a secure location, and follow any warnings issued by the National Weather Service.

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