A cloudburst is an extreme amount of precipitation in a short period of time,[1] sometimes accompanied by hail and thunder, which is capable of creating flood conditions. Cloudbursts can quickly dump large amounts of water, e.g. 25 mm of the precipitation corresponds to 25,000 metric tons per square kilometre (1 inch corresponds to 72,300 short tons over one square mile). However, cloudbursts are infrequent as they occur only via the orographic lift or occasionally when a warm air parcel mixes with cooler air, resulting in sudden condensation. At times, a large amount of runoff from higher elevations is mistakenly conflated with a cloudburst. The term "cloudburst" arose from the notion that clouds were akin to water balloons and could burst, resulting in rapid precipitation. Though this idea has since been disproven, the term remains in use.

  1. ^ International Glossary of electrical Hydrology. World Meteorological Organization and UNESCO. 2011. Archived from the original on 2005-11-03.