Cold front again?

You may be bored with the weather and Florida but that presently is my world. This is as much a review for me as learning for you.

The weather, and cold fronts are intervening in our travel plans. We had hoped to spend a few days here and then drop down to Fort Myers Beach to provision and wait for acceptable weather to go down to the Keys. First, the mooring field is full due to the North winds and second, we have no where more comfortable to go to ride out the North winds. It will also be chilly.

Those who read me will lament about the constant talk about ‘cold fronts’. Boating in Florida is about pleasure boating between the cold fronts and where you can hide when fronts pass. Last night was a good example of a typical cold front passing. It was very quiet with very little wind in the evening. Then it rained a bit. Suddenly after midnight just like someone threw a switch the wind piped up to 15 kts or so from the North. Now this morning the wind continues from the North and the cold air mass is upon us.

The leading edge of the cold air mass is the ‘cold front’. The speed the front moves over land and the temperature gradient between the warmer air and the cold air impacts the weather ahead of and at the front as it passes. The warmer air is forced up by the denser cooler air and this can lead to squalls, thunderstorms and even more violent weather. The instability of the atmosphere above all this friction can lead to very severe weather. Below from “Windows to the Universe”

Cold Fronts

From Windows to the Universe

A cold front is where a cold air mass is pushing into a warmer air mass. Cold fronts can produce dramatic changes in the weather. They move fast, up to twice as fast as a warm front. Cold air is dense so it is able to quickly plow a warm air mass ahead of it.

A side view of a cold front (A) and how it is represented on a weather mapWindows to the Universe image by Lisa Gardiner

Commonly, when the cold front is passing, winds become gusty; there is a sudden drop in temperature, and heavy rain, sometimes with hail, thunder, and lightning. Lifted warm air ahead of the front produces cumulus or cumulonimbus clouds and thunderstorms. Atmospheric pressure changes from falling to rising at the front. 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.

On weather maps, a cold front is represented by a solid blue line with filled-in triangles along it, like in the map on the left (B). The triangles are like arrowheads pointing in the direction that the front is moving. Notice on the map that temperatures at ground level are warmer in front of the front than behind it.

So, we will remain here safely at anchor. No panic, lots of rum several cans of Pepsi (Pepsi is not the limiter in a ‘rum and cola’)

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