Gallery of Weather Phenomena

The goal of this page is to describe phenomena in terms that hopefully most people will understand, and more importantly, describe the abilities and limitations in forecasting these phenomena, so the public can best use the information and forecasts that we meteorologists provide. I have divided the phenomena into Thunderstorm-Related Phenomena , Winter Weather Phenomena , Tropical Systems and Non-Precipitation Phenomena.


Thunderstorm-Related Phenomena - Characteristics of thunderstorms can change from season to season, but their effects are always the same. Each phenomenon will be loosely classified into typical cold season and warm season characteristics.

  • Heavy rain and flash flooding - Terrain is an important factor in the frequency and severity of flash flooding. Hilly or mountainous terrain can enhance flash flood potential since upslope wind flow can provide a persistent mechanism for continued thunderstorm development and rainfall runs downhill. Urban areas where many paved surfaces exist can aggravate flooding as well, since rainfall cannot soak into the soil. It must exit through storm drains, which may not support large flows of water.
  • Hail
  • Damaging non-tornadic winds
  • Tornadoes
  • Lightning

  • Winter Weather Phenomena - In my opinion, one of the most neglected fields of research, and also the most poorly predicted phenomena. Frozen and freezing precipitation can occur as a result of many different atmospheric processes. Many "surprise" events are often more forecastable than some people think and the following information will hopefully illustrate my point.

  • Snow
  • Sleet
  • Freezing rain
  • Nor'easter

  • Tropical Systems - More tropical systems affect the eastern U.S. than one would imagine. After a hurricane, tropical storm or tropical depression makes a land fall, the remnants can often track for hundreds of additional miles, producing devastating flooding and occasionally tornadoes.

  • Wind
  • Storm Surge
  • Heavy Rainfall and Associated Flooding
  • Tornadoes
  • Non-Precipitation Phenomena - Includes fog, frost and other phenomena.

  • Fog
  • Frost
  • Freeze
  • Heat Wave
  • El Nino
  • La Nina
  • Greenhouse Effect