Role of Fronts
in the development of freezing rain

Stationary fronts can be associated with the production of freezing rain. A stationary front separates cold air to the north from warm moist air to the south. Freezing rain develops as upper-level winds (typically light and southwesterly) push warm moist air over the colder air north of the stationary front, producing a narrow band of freezing rain on the cold side of the frontal boundary.

Arctic air masses are typically very shallow and have been known to produce devastating ice storms. Behind a cold front, the air mass is maritime polar (mP), but behind an Arctic front, the air mass is continental polar (cP). As Arctic air advances, it lifts the warm moist air (ahead of the front), producing precipitation that falls into the Arctic air. Sometimes, a band of freezing rain wider than 50 kilometers develops in association with an Arctic front.

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Credits and Acknowledgments for WW2010.
Department of Atmospheric Sciences (DAS) at
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.