The cold drop (Spanish: gota fría, Valencian: gota freda) is a meteorological phenomenon that appears when a front of very cold polar air, a jet stream, advances slowly over Western Europe, at high altitude (normally 5–9 km or 3–5.5 mi).
If a sudden cut off in the stream takes place, caused by various reasons, like the effect of the high pressures, a pocket of cold air detaches from the main jet stream, penetrating to the south over the Pyrenees into the warm air in Spain, causing its most dramatic effects in the Southeast of Spain, particularly along the Spanish Mediterranean coast, especially Valencian Community
This phenomenon is associated with extremely violent downpours and storms, with speeds of 100–200 km (60–120 mi)/hour, but not always accompanied by significant rainfall. For this it is necessary that the high atmospheric torrential rain instability in the lower air layers to combine with a significant amount of water vapors. Such a combination causes the masses of cold air to rapidly discharge up to 500 liters per square meter in extremely rapid rain episodes. This phenomenon usually lasts a very short time, (from a few hours to a maximum of four days) as it exhausts its water reserves without receiving a new supply.
The clouds are formed in the Atlantic Ocean. The more extreme the difference in temperature, the more water is stored in the clouds. The Cold Drop can produce snow or hail.
This way a great mass of cold air rotates and floats like a drop over a warm area.
The torrential rain caused by cold drop can result in the devastation of buildings, etc. caused by torrents and flash floods.
- Las gotas frías/DANAs. Ideas y conceptos básicos. Francisco Martín León, INM. (Spanish)
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