Why has it been such a windy spring?

Published: May. 8, 2020 at 1:24 PM EDT
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For the last two months I've receive this common question, "Why is it so windy, and is this unusual?"

Yes it has been a very spring but when we remember weather events, often times we only remember the ones that affect us and we can quickly forget.

This year has been usual in the number of windy days so yes, it has been a windy spring.

We tend to get windier days in the spring and fall.

Think of it this way, let's look at winter storms.

Some winters we have only one or two big snowstorms. Other years we have a lot of little snow storms.

That's kind of how it is for windy days in the spring and fall season.

Some years we have one or two big wind events. Think of March 2017 when we had a two day high wind event with persistent gusts at 50- 60mph.

So this year, we just happened to have a lot of windy days spread out through spring.

But where does the wind come from?

In the atmosphere we have pressure changes. We have high pressure (usually meaning sunny/clear skies) and we have low pressure (which brings clouds, rain and storms).

Weather is nature's attempt to balance. So high pressure, where we have an excess of pressure, always flows toward lower pressure. It's trying to fill the void.

The greater the pressure difference, the stronger the wind.

Because we live on the east coast we see low pressure that will strengthen off the east coast as high pressure builds in behind a storm. That will lead to high winds.

This spring has been rather active with storm systems and we've had an active storm track. More storm systems, the more frequent windy days.

Wind isn't something we really keep track of for weather records.

However I did go back through a few weather stations to see how many days we've had with gusts above 30mph, and above 40mph this spring. Meteorological spring is March, April and so far for May.

Page County:

14 days gusts 30mph+

7 days gusts 40mph+

Rockingham County:

16 days gusts 30mph+

3 days gusts 40mph+

Pendleton County:

19 days gusts 30mph+

5 days gusts 40mph+

I do not have an average number of days with these particular wind gusts. I had to manually go through each day by hand so this is a time consuming statistic.

However I did go back 3 years. The average number of days with gusts above 30mph in the Valley is around 15-18. With gusts 40mph or higher it's 3.

As we head into summer the number of windy days will go down as the jet stream rises to the north. Summer is when our high wind comes from thunderstorms.

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