When a former passes over an area, it method a readjust in the weather. Many fronts reason weather occasions such together rain, thunderstorms, gusty winds, and also tornadoes. At a cold front, there might be dramatic thunderstorms. At a heat front, there may be low stratus clouds. Usually, the skies clear once the front has actually passed.

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What is a Weather Front?

A weather former is a transition zone between two various air masses at the Earth"s surface. Every air fixed has unique temperature and humidity characteristics. Frequently there is disturbance at a front, i beg your pardon is the borderline whereby two different air masses come together. The turbulence can cause clouds and also storms.

Instead of leading to clouds and also storms, some fronts just reason a change in temperature. However, some storm fronts begin Earth"s biggest storms. Tropical waves are fronts that build in the tropical Atlantic ocean off the coastline of Africa. These fronts can develop into tropical storms or hurricanes if conditions allow.

Fronts move across the Earth"s surface ar over lot of days. The direction of movement is frequently guided through high winds, such as Jet Streams. Landforms like mountains deserve to also change the course of a front.

There are four different varieties of weather fronts: cold fronts, heat fronts, stationary fronts, and occluded fronts.

Cold Front


A side watch of a cold front (A, top) and how it is stood for on a weather map (B, bottom).

Credit:Lisa Gardiner

A cold front forms when a cold waiting mass pushes into a warmer waiting mass. Cold fronts can produce dramatic alters in the weather. They relocate fast, as much as twice as fast as a warm front. As a cold prior moves right into an area, the more heavier (more dense) cool waiting pushes under the lighter (less dense) heat air, resulting in it to climb up into the troposphere. Lifted warmth air ahead of the former produces cumulus or cumulonimbus clouds and thunderstorms, choose in the picture on the left (A).

As the cold front passes, winds come to be gusty. Over there is a sudden drop in temperature, and also heavy rain, sometimes with hail, thunder, and lightning. Atmospheric pressure transforms from fall to increasing at the front. After a cold front moves v your area, you may an alert that the temperature is cooler, the rain has actually stopped, and the cumulus clouds are replaced by stratus and also stratocumulus clouds or clear skies.

On weather maps, a cold former is represented by a heavy blue line v filled-in triangles along it, choose in the map on the left. The triangles are like arrowheads pointing in the direction that the former is moving. An alert on the map that temperatures at the floor level readjust from heat to cold as you overcome the former line.

Warm Front


A side see of a warm front (A, top) and how it is stood for on a weather map (B, bottom).

Credit: Lisa Gardiner

A warm front develops when a warmth air massive pushes right into a cooler air mass, shown in the picture to the right (A). Warmth fronts often bring stormy weather as the warmth air mass in ~ the surface ar rises above the cool wait mass, making clouds and storms. Warm fronts move an ext slowly 보다 cold fronts since it is more an overwhelming for the heat air to press the cold, thick air throughout the Earth"s surface. Heat fronts often type on the eastern side that low-pressure solution where warmer waiting from the southern is driven north.

You will often see high clouds favor cirrus, cirrostratus, and also middle clouds prefer altostratus front of a heat front. This clouds kind in the warmth air the is high above the cool air. Together the prior passes end an area, the clouds become lower, and rain is likely. There deserve to be thunderstorms around the warm front if the air is unstable.

On weather maps, the surface place of a warm front is stood for by a hard red line v red, filled-in semicircles along it, prefer in the map top top the best (B). The semicircles show the direction that the former is moving. They space on the side of the line whereby the former is moving. Notification on the map that temperatures at ground level room cooler in front of the front 보다 behind it.

Stationary Front


A stationary front is represented on a map by triangles pointing in one direction and semicircles pointed in the various other direction.

Credit:Lisa Gardiner

A stationary front develops when a cold prior or warmth front stop moving. This happens when two masses that air space pushing against each other, however neither is powerful enough to relocate the other. Winds blow parallel to the front rather of perpendicular can aid it remain in place.

A stationary front might stay put for days. If the wind direction changes, the front will start moving again, ending up being either a cold or warm front. Or the front might break apart.

Because a stationary prior marks the boundary in between two wait masses, there space often differences in air temperature and wind ~ above opposite political parties of it. The weather is frequently cloudy along a stationary front, and rain or snow often falls, specifically if the front is in an area of short atmospheric pressure.

On a weather map, a stationary former is displayed as alternative red semicircles and blue triangles choose in the image at the left. Notice how the blue triangles point in one direction, and the red semicircles allude in the contrary direction.

Occluded Front


An occluded front is represented on a weather map by a purple line with alternate triangles and semicircles.

Credit:Lisa Gardiner

Sometimes a cold front follows right behind a warm front. A heat air mass pushes into a cooler air fixed (the warm front), and then one more cold waiting mass pushes into the warmth air mass (the cold front). Because cold fronts relocate faster, the cold former is likely to overtake the heat front. This is well-known as an occluded front.

At one occluded front, the cold waiting mass from the cold front meets the cool air the was ahead of the warmth front. The heat air rises together these waiting masses come together. Occluded fronts usually form around areas of short atmospheric pressure.

There is regularly precipitation along an occluded front native cumulonimbus or nimbostratus clouds. Wind changes direction together the former passes and the temperature either warms or cools. After ~ the front passes, the sky is commonly clearer, and the waiting is drier.

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On a weather map, shown to the left, an occluded prior looks prefer a purple line with alternate triangles and semicircles pointing in the direction the the front is moving. It end at a low press area shown with a huge ‘L’ on the map, begins at the other end when cold and warm fronts connect.