Severe Weather

Waterspout with lightning above a city

Dangerous meteorological phenomena with the capability to cause damage, disruption or death are often referred to under the blanket term of severe weather. Severe weather is also part of the larger umbrella term of natural disasters, which includes land, water, fire, health and space disasters.

These phenomena can occur over a vast swathe or in a relatively small area. High winds are a major cause of severe weather; they may take the form of tornadoes, downbursts, waterspouts, cyclones, etc. Other forms of severe weather include lightning, precipitation (e.g., snow, rain, sleet, hail), lack of preciptation (i.e., drought), extreme heat and extreme cold.

Excluding flash floods, the U.S. National Weather Service issues a warning across media whenever a severe weather event occurs. The photo here depicts a waterspout with lightning near a city. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Brace yourself for a busy 2018 hurricane season

What is winter fatigue?

Jupiter's Great Red Spot is deeper than Earth's oceans and growing taller

What is cloud seeding, and does it really work?

What in the world is graupel?

'Wacky' weather theory may be why Europe is colder than the Arctic

Paris hasn't seen this much snow in 5 years

13 cozy cabins nestled in the snow

To walk on ice, channel your inner penguin

For 62 homeless pets, this was the plane ride of a lifetime

10 of the snowiest places on the planet

Dog missing for 5 days rescued from snowbank