Weather Terms

Not sure? Check out these common weather terms.

You don't have to be a meteorologist to understand the weather. We take the complicated and make it simple.

Blocking High: Strong upper level high pressure which blocks storm systems.

Chinook: A warm or hot and dry wind coming down off of a mountain.

Cirrus: High level feathery clouds.

Condensation: When water vapor (the gas phase of water) changes to a liquid.  Heat is released into the air when this occurs.

Convergence: when air is coming together. This can cause clouds or storms, because air at the center of the convergence may be forced to rise.

Cut off low: An upper level low pressure area that is cut off from strong upper level winds to move it.  May cause an extended period of cold, rainy days.

Dew: When air at the earth’s surface cools to the point where condensation starts.

Dew point: The temperature where air cools to the point that condensation starts.

Divergence: When air is moving away from an area. Usually associated with fair weather when this occurs near earths surface.

Dryline: A boundary between warm, moist air and hot, dry air, and a location where supercell thunderstorms may occur.

Enhanced Fujita scale: An update to the original tornado intensity scale developed by Dr. Ted Fujita.

Freezing rain: Super cooled rain that freezes on contact with objects.

Isobar: A line that connects points of the same air pressure.

Jet Stream: A strong upper level wind.

Mesoscale Convective Complex: A large somewhat circular cluster of thunderstorm cells that typically occur at night.

Occluded front: When a cold front overtakes a warm front, lifting the warm air off the surface.

Ridge: An area of higher air pressure in the upper atmosphere, typically associated with fair weather.

Subsidence: Sinking air that is associated with fair weather.

Temperature inversion: When air temperature increases with elevation.

Trough: An area of lower air pressure in the upper atmosphere, typically associated with cloud or stormy weather.