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illustration of wind currents in a thunderstorm.

The strongest winds in a thunderstorm usually precede the storm centre itself, in a zone up to three miles long. Gusts up to 50 knots can be expected in this zone. The winds blow downwards from the cloud, and they are especially dangerous for small vessels.

The heaviest rain occurs directly under the thunder cloud, leading to poor visibility. Heavy rain lasts from five to 15 minutes. Thunderstorms normally last less than one hour.

a waterspout.

Waterspouts may occur during a thunderstorm. A waterspout is a funnel of cloud reaching from the base of the thunderstorm cloud to the water, which may suck up water into the air. It usually lasts less than 15 minutes. Although immature waterspouts may be very small, they can become extremely violent without warning.

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