Wind - Dan's Wild Wild Weather Page

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Wind


Dan at the Mt. Washington observatory at the
Mt. Washington, NH

  If there wasn't any wind, there would be little or no day-to-day change in our weather. Wind is air moving horizontally. It is created by large scale differences in the air's density. This forces the air to move toward regions of lower pressure. If you stand with your back to the wind, an area of low pressure would be off to your left and the high pressure off to your right. The greater the differences in pressure, the stronger the wind.

   In the course of a year, the average wind speed and wind direction in our area is 8 MPH from the southeast. The windiest months in the WHNT viewing area are March and February.

   When NewsChannel 19 reports the wind direction on television, we are reporting the direction the wind is blowing from. A North wind is a wind that is blowing from the north. The old weather expression "Nor' Easter" applies to very intense storms, that blow up the Atlantic coastline and because of their counter-clockwise rotation, cause the wind to blow hard and steady from the northeast.

 
Dan's Wild Wild Pressure Page - learn about friction and the Coriolis Force.

The Jet Stream  
 The strongest and most persistent wind is found in the Jet Stream, a river of eastbound air a few hundred miles wide curving like a snake 6 miles above the ground. Meteorologists track weather balloons to determine how fast the wind is blowing in the jet stream. These are winds that steer the huge masses of warm and cold air generally from west to east across the country. During the summer months, a typical wind speed in the Jet Stream would be around 50 MPH. But, in the winter, the speed is more like 150 MPH.

 
The Anemometer

The instrument used to measure wind speed is called an anemometer. This has three cups which catch the wind and causes the anemometer to rotate. For official wind measurements, anemometers should be located around 30 feet above the ground.

  Many times, a downtown area can be just as windy as on a mountaintop in the Smokey's. This is so because tall buildings on either side of a street can channel the wind, forcing it to blow much faster. The highest wind speeds on recorded have occurred during severe thunderstorms. The world record, highest wind speed is 231 MPH! This was measured at the summit of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. The windiest month in the Tennessee Valley is March, with the average speed of 10.1 MPH. August has the calmest winds, with an average speed of 6 MPH.

Wind also plays a role in how cold it feels outside. Here is the newly revised WIND CHILL CHART.

The Wind: Our Fierce Friend

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