Examine Figure 14.13. Given your understanding of the conditions required for the formation of a thunderstorm, why would there be so many thunderstorms in eastern Colorado and northeastern New Mexico? What is so special about this relatively small area?
A thunderstorm forms when moist, unstable air is lifted vertically into the atmosphere. Lifting of this air results in condensation and the release of latent heat. ...view middle of the document...
The conditions required for thunderstorms are relatively warm humid air and unstable air. The upward air movement needed to create thunderstorms can come from the unequal heating of Earth’s surface. Cumulonimbus clouds (that form thunderstorms) can form quickly when surface heating is intense. Mountain slopes that face the sun absorb more heat and become relatively warmer creating strong updrafts that form into thunderstorm producing clouds. This relatively small area is so special when it comes to thunderstorms because of its unique geographic location. Eastern Colorado and northeastern New Mexico sits between the desert and the Rocky Mountains. When the warm air and the cooler air from these two unlikely climates come together they form thunderstorms. Severe thunderstorms can generate lightning, thunder, heavy rain, winds, and hail and can come from a single cumulonimbus cloud and affect a small area or a cluster of clouds and can affect a large area.
Pidwirny, M., Hanson, H. (2007) "Thunderstorm". In: Encyclopedia of Earth. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/article/Thunderstorm