Glossary Of Warm Season 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 terms you will find used in the summer time when talking about summer weather phenomena. While these terms are most often used in the warm season, some of them may appear at other times as well.


Cap: A phenomenon that occurs in the summer time which involves a warm layer aloft that prohibits thunderstorm development.

CAPE: Convective Available Potential Energy. The amount of fuel in the atmosphere that is available for thunderstorms to feed off of.

Derecho:  A line of thunderstorms that produces extensive wind damage over an area 100 miles wide and hundreds of miles long. These events are rare in New England but not unheard of. They are more common in the South.

Microbursts: A very small, but very strong burst of wind associated with a dying thunderstorm. Can cause significant damage to trees and structures and are often confused with tornadoes.

Prefrontal Trough: An area of low pressures and slight wind shift ahead of a cold front that can sometimes be an instigator for severe thunderstorms.

PWAT: Precipitable Water. The amount of precipitation that could possibly fall from the sky if there was enough of a trigger.

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

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