The Detroit Post
Sunday, 28 November, 2021

Do Weather Fronts Affect

Carole Stephens
• Monday, 07 December, 2020
• 8 min read

A long time ago, armies didn't have guns, grenades or fighter jets. Fronts are contact zones between two different air masses, and you can think of the air masses as the advancing armies, just with different pressure, density, temperature and moisture.

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And just like there's conflict between the battling armies, air masses 'battle' along fronts, creating changes in weather conditions. Conversely, a warm front is the contact boundary of an advancing warm air mass over a stationary cold air mass.

The color helps you identify which type of front is moving in (blue for cold, red for warm), and the arrows tell you which direction the advancing air mass is coming from. On a weather map, you will see these symbols for a stationary or occluded front.

Since the air is moving straight up, it forms a vertical cloud, which leads to thunderstorms along the front. Along the front, expect overcast skies and drizzle or light rain.

Behind the front, the air will be warm and clouds will be pretty scattered. Think about it like this: Thunderstorms generally develop quickly and are very dramatic storms.

When you step into a warm hot tub though, it's a little less dramatic, and your body reacts much more gradually. Both armies are winning (or losing) equally in the battle, and neither is willing to give in.

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Eventually, the stalemate will end because one side will take over, creating a cold or warm front, or the front will simply dissipate because the two sides just don't feel like fighting any longer. Long days of rain and clouds accompany stationary fronts.

This is when neither air mass is advancing over the other, and you can expect rain and clouds to accompany this type of front. Like two armies in battle that are equally winning or losing, these fronts can last for long periods of time.

Many fronts cause weather events such as rain, thunderstorms, gusty winds, and tornadoes. A weather front is a transition zone between two different air masses at the Earth's surface.

The direction of movement is often guided by high winds, such as Jet Streams. A side view of a cold front (A, top) and how it is represented on a weather map (B, bottom).

As a cold front moves into an area, the heavier (more dense) cool air pushes under the lighter (less dense) warm air, causing it to rise up into the troposphere. Lifted warm air ahead of the front produces cumulus or cumulonimbus clouds and thunderstorms, like in the image on the left (A).

weather systems

There is a sudden drop in temperature, and also heavy rain, sometimes with hail, thunder, and lightning. After a cold front moves through your area, you may notice that the temperature is cooler, the rain has stopped, and the cumulus clouds are replaced by stratus and stratocumulus clouds or clear skies.

The triangles are like arrowheads pointing in the direction that the front is moving. Notice on the map that temperatures at the ground level change from warm to cold as you cross the front line.

A side view of a warm front (A, top) and how it is represented on a weather map (B, bottom). Warm fronts often bring stormy weather as the warm air mass at the surface rises above the cool air mass, making clouds and storms.

Warm fronts move more slowly than cold fronts because it is more difficult for the warm air to push the cold, dense air across the Earth's surface. Warm fronts often form on the east side of low-pressure systems where warmer air from the south is pushed north.

As the front passes over an area, the clouds become lower, and rain is likely. Winds blowing parallel to the front instead of perpendicular can help it stay in place.


On a weather map, a stationary front is shown as alternating red semicircles and blue triangles like in the image at the left. An occluded front is represented on a weather map by a purple line with alternating triangles and semicircles.

Occluded fronts usually form around areas of low atmospheric pressure. Wind changes direction as the front passes and the temperature either warms or cools.

On a weather map, shown to the left, an occluded front looks like a purple line with alternating triangles and semicircles pointing in the direction that the front is moving. You get ready for a perfect day of fishing, pick your best lures and your favorite rod, only to sit out on the boat watching your line idle without a single bite.

A painful question pretty much every single angler has asked at some point. Last but not least, we’ll talk about the best weather conditions for fishing, as well as what you can do to make the most out of your outing.

In colder waters, fish tend to slow down, and generally need less food to support themselves. In order to breathe, fish rely on their gills to extract dissolved oxygen from the water.

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It so happens that the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water depends almost exclusively on the surrounding temperature. However, knowing why and when water temperatures change can make all the difference when trying to catch fish.

There are slow, seasonal changes, which are mainly influenced by the amount of sunlight a body of water receives over an extended period of time. These changes don’t have a tremendous impact on water temperature in the short term.

Even if you’re fishing a small pond, a passing cloud won’t realistically change the temperature by a significant amount. In addition, rainfall changes the turbidity (clarity) of the water, as well as the salinity of saltwater.

Lastly, rain can often shoot large quantities of nutrients into the water. In North America, winds generally blow in a northeast direction.

During the summer, the jet stream shifts to the north, pulling warm gusts of low-pressure air from the southwest with it. During fall and winter, the jet stream shifts to the south, bringing cold fronts and high-pressure air masses from the north.


When masses of cold and warm air mix, storms start to brew. Waves can increase the turbidity of the water, pulling currents and nutrients along with them.

If there’s one thing that can bring about a feeding frenzy in fish, it’s a change in barometric pressure. Sudden weather changes produce rapid shifts in barometric pressure, and this is precisely why these are the best moments to wet your line.

At sea level, barometric pressure of 29.92 inches is “normal.” Anything above that is considered high, and anything below that, low. Again, you don’t need to focus on absolute numbers, because fish aren’t paying much attention either.

What you should make note of is that just as the atmosphere pushes down on Earth’s surface, it does the same to its many bodies of water. The lateral line is an organ fish use to navigate and sense the presence of predators or food.

The swim bladder, on the other hand, is an organ similar to the stomach, which can inflate with air and allows the fish to achieve buoyancy. Fish species like Trout, Grouper, Snapper, and Tarpon have larger swim bladders, and are more sensitive to changes in air pressure.

It’s a well-known fact that rising barometric pressure means improving weather and clear skies. Conversely, dropping barometric pressure means that a storm or a cold front is on its way.

When the two air masses meet, they start creating condensation in the form of clouds. During this time, a noticeable, steady drop in air pressure occurs.

Depending on the scale of the storm, this can happen very quickly, or over an extended period of time. The cold front often clears the skies, and more importantly, brings about a rapid rise in air pressure.

Once the air pressure reaches a high point, it finally stabilizes. However, around 72 hours into this period of steady barometric pressure, the fish start coming out again.

As we mentioned, wind and rainfall can make waters more turbid than normal. Turbidity can drastically limit visibility underwater, and in turn, change the way fish behave.

In these situations, you’ll need to rely on brightly colored lures to get them to bite. If this is the case, your best bet is to stick to bright yellow and green presentations.

If you’re determined to fish in these conditions, make sure you’ve chosen the right kind of boat. There are countless stories of fishermen cashing in on the feeding frenzy while other anglers are stuck on the highway trying to get home.

Read the weather and fishing reports carefully, and give yourself a time cushion to leave the area in case you get held up.

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