Is there a name for the strong wind that precedes strong t-storms?

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Dear Tom,

As strong thunderstorms enter an area they are often preceded by a noticeable drop in temperature and a very strong wind. Is there a name for that wind?

Scott Marckini

Dear Scott,

There are several names that have been associated with this phenomenon, among them-gust front, downburst, outflow boundary and plough wind. As rain-cooled air surges downward through the thunderstorm it strikes the ground and rushes outward ahead of the storm. Its arrival is marked by a sharp wind shift (blowing from the direction of the approaching storm) and an abrupt temperature drop. Density differences between cool outflow air and warm air ahead of the boundary reflect the beam of weather radar scanning the storm, producing a noticeable fine line in radar imagery making it relatively easy to track.


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