What are weather maps?

Dateline article| David Murphy|

by David Murphy

Weather Maps come in two different forms. First, there are the maps you often see on TV weathercasts. They might include cold fronts and areas of high and low pressure, along with some viewer-friendly icons of a sun or a storm. There may also be words describing the regional weather.

The second type is what meteorologists call synoptic weather maps, which basically show the same as TV weather maps, but in much greater detail. In addition to frontal boundaries, a synoptic weather map is crowded with wind vectors (arrows showing the wind direction and speed) and information from hundreds of individual weather stations.

At Channel 6, we've adopted a system of maps that aims to describe the current weather pattern, while remaining relatively simple and easy to interpret.

In this section of short articles, I want to go over the symbols you see on these maps and describe what's going on with the weather features they represent. The idea is not only to make these symbols make more sense, but to give you some general information about how things like cold fronts and low pressure systems actually work.

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