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)

9 of the snowiest places on the planet

Dog missing for 5 days rescued from snowbank

When your day starts with black ice, ride it like the wind

These animal control officers are in the doghouse — literally

Why is it snowing in the Sahara?

These snowmobilers came across a pair of moose ears poking out of the snow ...

6 ways you know it's crazy-cold outside

Cities open warming centers to protect the homeless from frigid temps

Tiny dog zooms through snowy obstacle course

6 ways winter is tough on your car

Even penguins think this weather is too much

East Coast braces for another 'bombogenesis'