Glossary Of Basic Weather Terms

Hello everyone!

In an effort to break down the long list of terms you may see in my discussions or in the discussions of others, here is a list of the most basic weather terms you will find out there. These are simple terms that you will find watching on TV or reading the paper.


Cold Sector: A portion of a low pressure system dominated by cold air. The cold sector is found to the northeast of the low, ahead of the warm front all the way back to the west and south behind the cold front. Cold sector conditions vary but near the center of the low, and ahead of the warm front, general cloudiness is a good bet along with stratiform precipitation (precipitation that is uniform and constant, see full definition below), while behind the cold front, cold and clear conditions can be found.

Front: A boundary between two airmasses, usually one warm and one cold. Common instigator for clouds, showers, and the formation of larger scale storms.

High: High pressure system. An area of high atmospheric pressure. Brings sunny skies, light winds, and generally fair weather.

Jet Stream: A fast moving current of air at roughly 20,000 feet that plays an important role in large-scale temperatures as well as tracks of storms.

Low: Low pressure system. An area of low atmospheric pressure. Usually brings rain/snow/wind or other inclement weather.

Occluded Front: A type of frontal boundary that occurs when the cold front catches up with the warm front. Weather associated with the occluded front is similar to the weather associated with a cold front.

Warm Sector: The area of a low behind the warm front and ahead of the cold front. Conditions are commonly warm and moist with some showers/thunderstorms when the cold front nears.


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Reliably hype-free weather info for Western Maine and New Hampshire from amateur forecaster Jack Sillin

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