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A cloudburst is an extreme amount of precipitation, sometimes accompanied by hail and thunder, that normally lasts no longer than a few minutes but is capable of creating flood conditions. A cloudburst can suddenly dump large amounts of water e.g. 25 mm of precipitation corresponds to 25000 metric tons/km2 (1 inch corresponds to 72,300 short tons over one square mile). However, cloudbursts are infrequent as they occur only via 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.
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