Severe Storm

Cyclone Idai on 13 March 2019 west of Madagascar and heading for Mozambique. Image: ESA.

Definition

Storms are generally classified as a meteorological hazard,  caused by short-lived, micro- to meso-scale extreme weather and atmospheric conditions that last from minutes to days (EM-DAT).

Facts and figures

There are several different types of storms distinguished by the strength and characteristics of atmospheric disturbances:

  • Convective/local storm: A type of meteorological hazard generated by the heating of air and the availability of moist and unstable air masses. Convective storms range from localized thunderstorms (with heavy rain and/or hail, lightning, high winds, tornadoes) to meso-scale, multi-day events.
  • Sandstorm, dust storm: Strong winds carry particles of sand aloft, but generally confined to less than 50 feet (15 metres), especially common in arid and semi-arid environments. A dust storm is also characterised by strong winds but carries smaller particles of dust rather than sand over an extensive area.
  • Tornado: A violently rotating column of air that reaches the ground or open water (waterspout).
  • Lightning: A high-voltage, visible electrical discharge produced by a thunderstorm and followed by the sound of thunder.
  • Winter storm, blizzard: A low pressure system in winter months with significant accumulations of snow, freezing rain, sleet or ice. A blizzard is a severe snow storm with winds exceeding 35 mph (56 km/h) for three or more hours, producing reduced visibility (less than .25 mile (400 m).
  • Orographic storm (strong wind): Differences in air pressure resulting in the horizontal motion of air. The greater the difference in pressure, the stronger the wind. Wind moves from high pressure toward low pressure.  
  • Extratropical storm: A type of low-pressure cyclonic system in the middle and high latitudes (also called mid-latitude cyclone) that primarily gets its energy from the horizontal temperature contrasts (fronts) in the atmosphere.
  • Tropical storms: A tropical cyclone originates over tropical or subtropical waters. It is characterised by a warm-core, non-frontal synoptic-scale cyclone with a low pressure centre, spiral rainbands and strong winds. Depending on their location, tropical cyclones are referred to as hurricanes (Atlantic, Northeast Pacific), typhoons (Northwest Pacific), or cyclones (South Pacific and Indian Ocean) (UNDRR, Sendai Framework).

Related content on the Knowledge Portal

Data Source

Event

The Asia and Oceania regions are frequently affected by severe natural phenomena such as tropical cyclones, torrential monsoons, volcanic eruptions, yellow sandstorms, floods, sea ice, and wildfires. The importance of monitoring the climate and the environment is also increasing, which has prompted enhanced global interest in the field.

In this area, the new generation of meteorological and earth observation satellites provide frequent and extensive... read more

News

Logo of the International Charter “Space and Major Disasters”

The International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” has been activated on 18 September after Typhoon Manghut hit the northern coast of Luzon in the Philippines with winds of up to 180mph. This has made Manghut one of the strongest storms in decades.

The high winds also churned rough seas as it moved across Luzon, producing 30 feet-high waves, damaging forest, dragging electricity supplies and harming a farmland in Cagayan.

Mass evacuations, restricted travel and school closures have helped to manage the situation across the Philippines, with the army on standby to assist relief efforts.

On 16 September, Manghut was making its way to southeastern China after moving all across the Phillippines.

Publishing date: 19/09/2018

GP-STAR factsheet

Publishing institution: United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
After the TAM was conducted in Myanmar, innovative impacts were completed following a recommendation. “Emergency Operation Centre (EOC)”, which is comprised of four units including “Remote Sensing Unit” and “Risk Assessment and Emergency Response... read more
Publishing institution: United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)

In order to encourage the targeted retrieval of space-based information and data by disaster risk reduction practitioners, content on the Portal is systematically enriched with metadata. For instance, data sources are marked up with data about their file type, satellite/sensor... read more

Pages

Hazard group

Terms in the same hazard group

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.