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A storm is any disturbed state of the natural environment or the atmosphere of an astronomical body. It may be marked by significant disruptions to normal conditions such as strong wind, tornadoes, hail, thunder and lightning (a thunderstorm), heavy precipitation (snowstorm, rainstorm), heavy freezing rain (ice storm), strong winds (tropical cyclone, windstorm), wind transporting some substance through the atmosphere such as in a dust storm, among other forms of severe weather.
Storms have the potential to harm lives and property via storm surge, heavy rain or snow causing flooding or road impassibility, lightning, wildfires, and vertical and horizontal wind shear. Systems with significant rainfall and duration help alleviate drought in places they move through. Heavy snowfall can allow special recreational activities to take place which would not be possible otherwise, such as skiing and snowmobiling.
The English word comes from Proto-Germanic *sturmaz meaning "noise, tumult".
Storms are created when a center of low pressure develops with the system of high pressure surrounding it. This combination of opposing forces can create winds and result in the formation of storm clouds such as cumulonimbus. Small localized areas of low pressure can form from hot air rising off hot ground, resulting in smaller disturbances such as dust devils and whirlwinds.
Coastal storm – Large wind waves and/or storm surge that strike the coastal zone. Their impacts include coastal erosion and coastal flooding.
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