Thunderstorms have a bad reputation, but in their defense, I must point out that less than 5 percent of all thunderstorms that occur across the United States each year are destructive. Most bring much needed rainfall, and all of them help to regulate heat through the atmosphere.

For that reason, thunderstorms can be thought of as nature's air conditioners.

A thunderstorm downdraft brings much cooler air from the upper atmosphere down to the Earth's surface. Before the storm, the temperature may be in the 90s.

Once the storm hits, however, the downward rush of air may lower the temperature 20 degrees or more.

Tuesday, a scattering of thunderstorms will break out across the southeastern part of the country bringing temporary relief from hot, sticky conditions.

These storms will be loaded with moisture and are capable of dumping quite a bit of rain.

Story by Meteorologist John Kocet.