Thunderstorms and Lightning

It is estimated that there are as many as 40,000 thunderstorm occurrences each day world-wide. This translates into an astounding 14.6 million occurrences annually. Louisiana certainly experiences its share of thunderstorm occurrences.

The figure above shows the average number of thunderstorm days each year throughout the U.S. The most frequent occurrence is in the southeastern states, with Florida having the highest number 'thunder' days (80 to 100+ days per year).  

It is in this part of the country that warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean is most readily available to fuel thunderstorm development.

Hail is precipitation that is formed when updrafts in thunderstorms carry raindrops upward into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere. Hail can damage aircraft, homes and cars, and can be deadly to livestock and people. One of the people killed during the March 28, 2000 tornado in Fort Worth was killed when struck by grapefruit-size hail.

Damaging wind from thunderstorms is much more common than damage from tornadoes. In fact, many confuse damage produced by "straight-line" winds and often erroneously attribute it to tornadoes.