Staying Ahead of Bad Weather Ashland KY

The bad news: A sunny day can turn into a tempest without notice. The good news: You don't have to be a trained meteorologist to see a storm heading your way. While we aren't recommending you skip the weather report , knowing what to look for in the sky enables you to forecast - with a reasonable amount of accuracy - if you're in for stormy weather.

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Staying Ahead of Bad Weather

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Staying Ahead of Bad Weather

Know when to get out of Dodge

The bad news: A sunny day can turn into a tempest without notice. The good news: You don't have to be a trained meteorologist to see a storm heading your way. While we aren't recommending you skip the weather report , knowing what to look for in the sky enables you to forecast - with a reasonable amount of accuracy - if you're in for stormy weather.

Crash Course on Climate

While rising or changing winds, darkening or thickening clouds, and sudden drops in temperature are obvious signs that a storm is on the way, some weather warnings are more subtle. To get the most from weather forecasts and learn to translate what the sky is telling you, a bit of weather wisdom is in order.

Cold Front

A cold front is a heavy, dense cold air mass that moves into a warm air mass. They merge quickly, traveling great distances without losing intensity. While they can bring severe weather, they more often pass fairly quickly.

Cold fronts are usually accompanied by

  • High winds
  • Cold temperatures
  • Rain showers and thunderstorms
  • Changes in wind direction.

The cloud formations that warn of cold fronts are

  • Cumulus clouds: These low, white and puffy clouds usually mean good weather, but when they begin to spread vertically, expect precipitation (rain or snow) later in the day.
  • Cumulonimbus clouds: The tops of these towering storm clouds are often anvil-shaped. They expand dramatically both vertically and horizontally and can be accompanied by rain, sleet, hail, thunder, lightning and tornadoes.

Since altimeters can measure fluctuations in barometric pressure, an approaching cold front can escalate the reading - even though you may not be ascending or moving at all. If you notice this kind of fluctuation, rain is likely coming your way.

Warm Front

A warm front is a warm air mass that moves into a cold air mass. These slow-moving fronts gradually replace cooler air masses, producing either rain or snow. While warm fronts can bring thunderstorms, they rarely produce the violent weather associated with cold fronts. While rain or snow brought by a warm front can last a long time, once the front moves on, it's usually followed by clear skies.

Usually accompanied by a rise in temperature, warm fronts progress from thin, high-level cirrus clouds to low, dense stratus clouds. The cloud formations associated with warm fronts appear in the following order:

  • Cirrus clouds: These wispy, feathery clouds look like brush strokes on blue canvas. They normally appear high in the sky 48 hours before a warm front moves in.
  • Cirrocumulus clouds: These high altitude clouds look like small puffy cotton balls and may have a rippled appearance. Precipitation often occurs within 20 to 30 hours.
  • Cirrostratus clouds: Characterized by milky clouds that form a wallpaper effect across the sky, cirrostratus clouds can also create a "halo" around the sun. Precipitation is likely...

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