What Is a Cloudburst

2305 WordsAug 12, 201010 Pages
What is a cloudburst? A cloudburst is sudden copious rainfall. It is a sudden aggressive rainstorm falling for a short period of time limited to a small geographical area. Meteorologists say the rain from a cloudburst is usually of the shower type with a fall rate equal to or greater than 100 mm (4.94 inches) per hour. Generally cloudbursts are associated with thunderstorms. The air currents rushing upwards in a rainstorm hold up a large amount of water. If these currents suddenly cease, the entire amount of water descends on to a small area with catastrophic force all of a sudden and causes mass destruction. This is due to a rapid condensation of the clouds. They occur most often in desert and mountainous regions, and in interior…show more content…
When the speed of water accumulation on the ground exceeds the surface's ability to absorb it, localized flooding will occur in low-lying terrain. In hilly or mountainous terrain, the runoff of water can congregate in stream beds or canyons and cause deadly and damaging flash flooding. Here are some world record cloudbursts: 1 minute: 1.5 inches / 38.1 mm at Barot, Guadeloupe, 26 November 1970. 5 minutes: 2.43 inches / 61.72 mm at Port Bells, Panama, 29 November 1911. 15 minutes: 7.8 inches / 198.12 mm at Plumb Point, Jamaica, 12 May 1916. 20 minutes: 8.1 inches / 205.74 mm at Curtea-de-Arges, Rumania, 7 July 1947. 40 minutes: 9.25 inches / 234.95 mm at Guinea, Virginia, USA, 24 August 1906. Bright Cloudbursts During a cloudburst, we are usually thinking more about keeping dry or navigating our car safely through traffic. But have you ever watched the approach of a thunderstorm darken the sky and then been surprised at how bright the day became during the heaviest downpour? We logically expect that, given the pre-rain darkness of a thunderstorm, that when heavy rainfall begins, the darkness will deepen. But very often, a sudden downpour comes with an unexpected brightening of the surroundings. Here's why. Each raindrop can act as a reflector of any light falling on it (reflection and refraction of light through distant raindrops form bright, beautiful rainbows). During a heavy downpour, a
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