Severe Storm

Cyclone Idai on 13 March 2019 west of Madagascar and heading for Mozambique. Image: ESA.

Definition

Storms are generally classified as a meteorological hazard,  caused by short-lived, micro- to meso-scale extreme weather and atmospheric conditions that last from minutes to days (EM-DAT).

Facts and figures

There are several different types of storms distinguished by the strength and characteristics of atmospheric disturbances:

  • Convective/local storm: A type of meteorological hazard generated by the heating of air and the availability of moist and unstable air masses. Convective storms range from localized thunderstorms (with heavy rain and/or hail, lightning, high winds, tornadoes) to meso-scale, multi-day events.
  • Sandstorm, dust storm: Strong winds carry particles of sand aloft, but generally confined to less than 50 feet (15 metres), especially common in arid and semi-arid environments. A dust storm is also characterised by strong winds but carries smaller particles of dust rather than sand over an extensive area.
  • Tornado: A violently rotating column of air that reaches the ground or open water (waterspout).
  • Lightning: A high-voltage, visible electrical discharge produced by a thunderstorm and followed by the sound of thunder.
  • Winter storm, blizzard: A low pressure system in winter months with significant accumulations of snow, freezing rain, sleet or ice. A blizzard is a severe snow storm with winds exceeding 35 mph (56 km/h) for three or more hours, producing reduced visibility (less than .25 mile (400 m).
  • Orographic storm (strong wind): Differences in air pressure resulting in the horizontal motion of air. The greater the difference in pressure, the stronger the wind. Wind moves from high pressure toward low pressure.  
  • Extratropical storm: A type of low-pressure cyclonic system in the middle and high latitudes (also called mid-latitude cyclone) that primarily gets its energy from the horizontal temperature contrasts (fronts) in the atmosphere.
  • Tropical storms: A tropical cyclone originates over tropical or subtropical waters. It is characterised by a warm-core, non-frontal synoptic-scale cyclone with a low pressure centre, spiral rainbands and strong winds. Depending on their location, tropical cyclones are referred to as hurricanes (Atlantic, Northeast Pacific), typhoons (Northwest Pacific), or cyclones (South Pacific and Indian Ocean) (UNDRR, Sendai Framework).

Related content on the Knowledge Portal

Event

Watching a Typhoon from Space with Sentinel-1

During this webinar, you will learn how to process and visualize Sentinel-1 data to look at a hurricane and the damage it inflicts using SNAP toolbox.

Studies show that typhoons, hurricanes and other extreme weather events have become more frequent as a result of ongoing climatic change and this trend is likely to continue. These extreme weather events carry substantial human and economic costs. A publication by the (EASAC) reports that economic losses due to thunderstorms in North America have doubled between 1980 and 2015.

Using remote sensing we can monitor the storms themselves and the damage they cause (for example identify the most severely damaged areas). In this exercise we will have look on how to use the three Sentinel-1 data products (SLC, GRD and OCN) to see different aspects of the typhoon Habibis and its effect.

CSSTEAP logo. Image: CSSTEAP.

The Asia-Pacific region faces major disaster risks in the form of earthquakes and tsunamis, tropical cyclones and typhoons, landslides, flash floods, avalanches and glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). Due to the large spatial extent of disasters affecting several people across countries, geospatial technology today finds a wider acceptance and an important tool for decision making process. As disaster management work usually involves a large number of different agencies working in different areas, the need for utilizing geo-information technologies in multiple disciplines to make critical decisions is very important. Space technology can be particularly useful in the risk assessment, monitoring, response, mitigation and preparedness phases of disaster management, including early warning.... read more

Monitoring Tropical Storms for Emergency Preparedness

Tropical storms have major impacts, including loss of life and destruction of property. In 2017 alone, the United States experienced three tropical storms with more than $1 billion in losses. Open source satellite data can be used before, during, and after a storm for monitoring and response. A storm’s intensity, path, wind, precipitation, storm surge, and flooding can be derived from historical and near real-time satellite observations. In this introductory webinar, participants will learn about the NASA data and tools they can use to monitor tropical storms.

Learning Objectives: 

By the end of the training, attendees will be able to:

  • Identify remote sensing data and tools relevant to tropical storms
  • Monitor conditions before, during, and after a storm using remote sensing data
  • Understand how remote sensing data can be used in decision-making activities
Course Format: 
  • Two, 2 hour sessions
... read more

News

Mission team with the director and staff of the Department of Civil Protection and other organizations. Image: DPC.

Upon the request of the Ministry of Territorial Administration (MINAT), Government of Cameroon, UN-SPIDER carried out a week-long Institutional Strengthening Mission (ISM) to Yaoundé from 15 to 19 July. The mission aimed to strengthen the capacities of the Department of Civil Protection (DPC) of Cameroon in using space-based information in all phases of the disaster management cycle. It was the third UN-SPIDER mission to Cameroon after a Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) in 2011 and an Institutional Strengthening Mission (ISM) in 2012, the latter including a training course on “Remote Sensing for Disaster Management”.

During the mission, UN-SPIDER experts and an expert from its Nigeria Regional Support... read more

Publishing date: 22/07/2019
Regional Support Offices mentioned:
Hurricane Florence (2018). Image: NASA Earth Observatory.

According to a new study by scientists from NASA and NOAA, tropical cyclones stall more frequently and stay longer near the coastline. This potentially leads to more precipitation over confined locations and thus an aggravation of tropical cyclone hazards for coastal populations.

In the new study, scientists Hall and Kossin examined all tropical cyclones from 1944-2017 in the National Hurricane Center's HURDAT2 database to analyze the position and calculate the average forward speed of each storm that has reached the coastal regions and to investigate the direction of the storm track. They found that 66 storms in the North Atlantic stayed in a coastal region for more than two days. Almost half of these 66 stalls appeared in the last third of the 74 years they analyzed, while only 17 appeared in the first third. In addition, they found that long-lasting storms were more likely to contain meanders.

The trajectory of a tropical cyclone... read more

Publishing date: 04/07/2019
Modeled catchment mean annual loss. For clarity, only catchments with a mean annual loss of >$1.5 million have been plotted. Image: Quinn, N., Bates, P. D., Neal, J., Smith, A., Wing, O., Sampson, C., et al. ( 2019).

A recent study, published in the Water Resource Research journal, presents a new method for a spatially realistic national flood risk assessment.

Researchers expanded an existing statistical model, based on U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) river flow data, to simulate a thousand years of potential flood events. By calculating the damage for each event in dollars, they were able to estimate the probability of the United States suffering particular annual flood damages.

Traditional risk flood analysis models assume that the impacts on the entire flood-affected area are the same, but flooding can be more severe in some areas than in others, even during the same flood event. At national scales, traditional risk analyses can only estimate the average annual loss. To estimate the total annual losses that might occur in more extreme flooding... read more

Publishing date: 04/07/2019
Damage from a 7.4 earthquake and a tsunami that hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on 28 September 2018. Image: European Union/Pierre Prakash/Flickr.

In the past year, “there were 315 natural disaster events recorded with 11,804 deaths, over 68 million people affected, and US$131.7 billion in economic losses around the world.” This is according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) in its recently released 2018 Natural Disasters Report

While these 2018 natural disaster values represent a decrease when compared with the annual averages from 2008 to 2017, some geographic areas still experienced great losses of life and damages due to natural hazards. Indonesia was most adversely impacted in terms of lives claimed, with earthquakes in August and September 2018 that left a total of 4,904 people dead or missing, according to the CRED. Earthquakes also accounted for the greatest number of deaths among natural disasters worldwide in 2018. And among all types of natural hazards, floods affected the greatest number of people during the past... read more

Publishing date: 01/07/2019

Recommended Practices

Storm surges and tidal waves are global phenomena that considerably affect human populations in coastal and island regions. According to the Guide to Storm Surge Forecasting published by the World Meteorological Organization in 2011, storm surges can be defined as “oscillations of the water level in a coastal or inland body of water in the time range of a few minutes to a few days, resulting from forcing from atmospheric weather systems. According to this definition, the so-called wind waves, which have durations on the order of several seconds, are excluded”. Storm surges are a coastal...

Data Source

GP-STAR factsheet

Schematic Workflow for the derivation of an exemplary Sendai indicator using crisis information generated from satellite remote sensing (Source: own figure; Copernicus Emergency Management Service (©European Union), EMSN024, EMSN056)
Publishing institution: German Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance

To meet the global challenges, the United Nations adopted several framework agreements, including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction at the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030). The framework builds the international reference point for disaster preparedness and focuses on reducing existing and future disaster risks as well as enhancing disaster resilience. In the Sendai framework, seven global targets have been agreed to measure global progress in implementing the framework through quantifiable indicators and to present, compare and evaluate the status and progress uniformly worldwide. The recording of the status and degree of target achievement using the agreed indicators requires the use of various data sources, which must be consistent and comparable in time and space in order to ensure global monitoring.

Pages

Hazard group

Terms in the same hazard group

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.