How to Read a Weather Map – 3 Simple Steps

How to Read a Weather Map - 3 Simple Steps

Weather maps are meant to provide you with an up-to-date simplified depiction of the current or predicted weather conditions in your region.  Once you have a basic understanding of the common weather symbols, you will be able to tell, at a glance, what the weather is likely to be in your area even if you don’t have access to a detailed weather report.

Here are some helpful tips on how to familiarize yourself with weather map symbols.

How to Read a Weather Map

1. Check for warm and cold fronts

Check for warm and cold fronts

The cold front typically appears as blue triangles on colored weather maps. A cold front is a warm-cold air boundary where the cold air replaces the warm air.

The warm front typically is represented as red half circles. The warm front is the boundary between warm and cold air, where the warm air replaces the cold air.

2. Cloud Cover and Precipitation Symbols

cloud cover

Most weather maps show current precipitation and cloud cover conditions with cloud and sun symbols. These symbols represent sunny, partly cloudy, mostly cloudy, overcast, rain, snow, thunderstorms, scattered or isolated thunderstorms, and fog areas on a map.

3. Air Pressure

air pressure

Weather forecast maps have different symbols for high and low pressure areas.  The high pressure area is indicated with a blue H and the low pressure area is indicated with red L.

Keep in mind weather maps are not always accurate but a prediction.

Check out this World Weather Extremes Wall Map that is compiled from records based on the Extreme Weather Guide.  The details include weather extremes by cities, physical/terrain, international borders, legend, elevation info, capitals, and ocean relief.  The beautiful Wall map of the World features shaded relief with an overlay of world weather records.

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