What Is the Weather Like at Cold and Warm Air Fronts?


Quick Answer

The air behind a cold front is significantly colder and drier than the air preceding the cold front. Temperatures can drop 15 degrees Fahrenheit or more within an hour of a cold front passing through an area. The air behind a warm front is warm and moist in comparison to the air ahead of the warm front.

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Full Answer

A transition zone where a warm air mass is replaced by a cold air mass is called a cold front. Typically, cold fronts move from northwest to southeast, and there can be discernible change in temperature from one side of the cold front to the other side. An abrupt change in temperature over a short distance can indicate that a cold front is located between the two areas. Before a cold front hits, there is an increase in cirrus, cirrostratus and cumulonimbus clouds. While the cold front is passing over the area, only cumulonimbus clouds remain. Cumulus clouds move in to take their place after the cold front passes.

A transition zone where a cold air mass is replaced by a warm air mass is called a warm front. Typically, warm air fronts move from southwest to northeast. The air located near a warm front becomes noticeably humid and much warmer.

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