Hello and welcome back to “Weather Matters With Matthews.” A while ago, I talked about the different kinds of fronts. Today, I would like to discuss some characteristics of one of my favorite weather fronts: the cold front.
A cold front occurs when a mass of cold air advances and takes over a mass of warm air. The movement of a cold front is usually eastern while the front is typically oriented from the southwest to the northeast. A cold front can result in tall clouds and heavy precipitation in front of the front depending on the amount of moisture in the atmosphere and how strong the cold front is. A cold front’s strength is dependent on its slope and the speed of the frontal movement.
Fast-moving cold fronts pack lots of energy. When these fronts are slowed down by friction at the surface, the front’s slope steepens and the stored energy from the front tends to generate more lift. This can help form tall, towering storm clouds with heavy showers during the passage of a cold front.
A cold front on a weather map is a useful tool for forecasters because it can help them determine the timing and location of severe weather along a line fast moving winds and low pressure.