What Is A Gust Front?

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By By Steve Pool

SEATTLE - While fairly rare around here, gust fronts are like miniature windstorms that can be a side effect of a strong thunderstorm nearby, and can also be a sign that you're about to get very wet.

During a very heavy rainstorm, the downward force of the falling rain creates a cool, strong, sinking wind. As this rush of air reaches the ground, it races outward ahead of the storm.

Thus, someone standing ahead of the storm will get a rush of cold air preceding the thunderstorm. That's known as a gust front. Some of the strongest storms can create gust fronts with wind speeds over 80-100 mph.

Gust fronts can also spawn a secondary storm near the original thunderstorm. As the cold air rushes outward, it can force the warm air on the ground to rise up and condense, leading to additional thunderstorm development.

Your Photos

YouNews Sunday Images Sunday Images
These images were taken Sunday, December 14 with a Nikon D3100 and an Explore Scientific ED127 (Moon) and ED80 (M42
and M31).
YouNews Weekend Sky Weekend Sky
The images of M42 (Orion) and M31 (Andromeda) are short
stacks (lights only) taken Sunday evening with an Explore
Scientific ED80 (wide angle) telescope and a Nikon D3100 DSLR. The image of the moon was taken with an Explore Scientific ED127 (5-inch) refractor.