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Home > Thunderstorms > Thunderstorms worries - Flying over the South Atlantic
Thunderstorms worries - Flying over the South Atlantic
Weather - Thunderstorms
Saturday, 25 February 2012 05:45

How thunderstorms are formed


Flying near thunderstorms

Dear Captain Lim,

I have heard that there is a constant thunderstorm activity over South Atlantic and that the storms can build up very quickly there. In that case, pilots say they have no choice but to just go through them.

Do you know how often does this occur in this region? Is it something serious or dangerous and would this cause very strong turbulence? If yes, how long would it usually last in that case?

I would very much appreciate your help and information because I have to fly from Europe to Brazil next month and have some worries.

Many greetings to you!

David

Hi David,

It is not true that pilots would go through thunderstorms for it would be madness to do so! What you probably misunderstood is, if there is a massive line of thunderstorms and avoidance is not possible, pilots would penetrate the less intensed part of the thunderstorm clouds or in between them by using the weather radar.

Yes, they would avoid the red spot on the radar screen indicating the worst part of the thunderstorm. Unfortunately Air France 447 was probably trapped inside a severe one as their radar was not well tilted and set up to capture the red spots.

Thunderstorms in the South Atlantic region are associated with the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). It moves South during the summer months in Europe. In general, thunderstorms in the Equatorial regions can occur all year round and pilots would avoid them at all cost by deviating around them using their weather radar.

You can read what I wrote about thunderstorms in my top 10 FAQ of the Travel 3Sixty magazine ‘WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF FLYING INTO A THUNDERSTORM?’ here

PS. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my new Twitter at @CaptKHLim


A professional explanation of thunderstorm

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Dear Captain Lim, thank you so much for your explanation, it really makes things much more clear. But what if there are only red spot on the radar, is this at all possible? What do you do then? I would really appreciate your answer, and thanks again ! Sincerely, David
David , 02 Mar, 2012

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