What is Cold Air Damming?

news image
Special Stories
4 Jan 2024 4:30 PM

Icy, damp, cloudy, and cold weather. These are frequent scenes of winter… and they’re often the result of “cold air damming.” It’s a meteorological phenomenon that can last for several days, and even lead to dangerous ice storms!

Cold air damming is typically seen from October to April in numerous parts of the country, but it’s more commonly found east of the Appalachian Mountains.

Here’s how it works. During the winter months, cold high pressure systems swing in from Canada. This cold, dense air tends to dam, or get trapped, by the Appalachian Mountains. Meanwhile, a storm system nears and brings warmer, less dense air over the stagnant low-level cold layer. Once precipitation begins, if can fall as snow, sleet, or freezing rain…depending on the depth of the cold layer.

This kind of weather set-up can lead to thick ice, resulting in downed trees and loss of electricity, or just enough of an icy glaze to make travel slippery and hazardous. In stronger events, cold air damming can cause an icy mess as far south as Georgia and Alabama.

All Weather News
More
Severe Storms Leave Damage in the Midwest

Severe Storms Leave Damage in the Midwest

A cold front moving east has been producing n

28 Feb 2024 10:30 PM
Nearly 1 Million Acres Burned in Texas, Second Largest in State History

Nearly 1 Million Acres Burned in Texas, Second Largest in State History

Above - The fire in Hutchinson County, TX con

28 Feb 2024 10:25 PM
Blizzard Warnings for California

Blizzard Warnings for California

A significant winter storm is shaping up this

28 Feb 2024 10:20 PM
Significant Lake Effect Snow in New York, Michigan

Significant Lake Effect Snow in New York, Michigan

The same system and cold front that was respo

28 Feb 2024 10:15 PM
Thunderstorms Now in Appalachia, East Coast

Thunderstorms Now in Appalachia, East Coast

The same system that moved through the Midwes

28 Feb 2024 9:15 PM
Heavy Rain & Snow in the Northwest

Heavy Rain & Snow in the Northwest

Much of the Northwestern U.S. has already see

28 Feb 2024 8:55 PM
Rain Possible for Deep South this Week

Rain Possible for Deep South this Week

Looking ahead to the end of this week we have

28 Feb 2024 6:20 PM