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Types of Thunderstorms
single cell, multicell clusters, multicell lines and supercells

The breakdown into single cell, multicell, and supercell covers the major storm types within the spectrum. One "cell" denotes one updraft/downdraft couplet. Thus, there are several updrafts and downdrafts in close proximity with a multicell storm. Multicell storms can be broken down further into the categories of multicell line and multicell cluster storms. The "intense" updraft storm is almost invariably the supercell, a storm capable of producing the most devastating weather, including violent tornadoes.

[Image: four basic thunderstorm types (27K)] With the two multicell storm categories, we have defined four basic storm types from the thunderstorm spectrum. The supercell is always severe, whereas the others can be non-severe or severe. We stress that a "severe" storm is a somewhat arbitrary National Weather Service definition of a storm with one or more of the following elements: 3/4 inch or larger diameter hail, 50 KT downbursts, and tornadoes.

Terms for using data resources. CD-ROM available.
Credits and Acknowledgments for WW2010.
Department of Atmospheric Sciences (DAS) at
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.