~ America's Named Winds ~ Wind Predictions ~
~ Beaufort Scale of Wind Force ~
~ Windchill ~

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America's Named Winds

The Blue Norther "...a winter wind that precedes a fast moving cold front, replacing warm, moist air with a furious, bone-chilling northerly wind that can drop temeratures as much as 50 degrees Fahrenheit in two or three hours."
Chinook "...are warm, strong, westerly winds appearing out of clear skies several times each winter in the eastern foothills of the Rockies from Colorado to Alberta, Canada.  they often raise the temerature overnight by as much as 40 or 50 degrees.  By the time Chinook winds reach the high plains, they have lost so much moisture in their passage over the Rockies that humidity is only about 40 percent or less.  That dry, relatively warm air can evaporate snow at the rate of an inch per hour--a phenomena that caused the Blackfoot Indians to call the wind "snow eater"."

On January 22, 1943, Chinook swept in to Rapid City, South Dakota and raised the temperature from -10 to +45 degrees Fahrenheit in approximately two minutes.

Santa Ana a hot, dry wind that sweeps through southern California, sometimes creating massive, blinding dust storms.
Alberta Clipper Not a wind per se.  An Alberta Clipper is an area of low pressure that forms over Alberta, east of the Rocky Mountains.  Once formed, the Alberta Clipper moves rapidly to the southeast, reinforcing cold temperatures and bringing light precipitaion, most often in the form of snow.
Nor'easter An intense low pressure system that tracks along the east coast of the United States, usually during the fall, winter, and spring months. These storms can produce strong northeast winds, large waves, and intense precipitation.
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Wind Predictions

In America, and most other areas of the world, a west wind is the most common and benign wind.  East winds are caused by counter clockwise rotation in low pressure fronts which often precede stormy weather.
New England proverb ~  when the wind is from the east, niether good for man nor beast
A steady, straight wind is a sign of stable weather. 
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Beaufort Scale of Wind Force

calm 0-1 smoke rises vertically
light air 1-3 smoke drifts, ripple patches on water
light breeze 4-7 leaves rustle, consistant water ripples
gentle breeze 8-12 leaves and twigs move, small waves
moderate breeze 13-18 small branches move, longer waves
fresh breeze 19-24 small trees sway, a few white caps
strong breeze 25-31 large branches sway, overal white caps
moderate gale 32-38 larger trees sway, white caps and swells
fresh gale 39-46 twigs break off trees, longer and higher waves
strong gale 47-54 branches break off trees, tops blow off waves
whole gale 55-63 trees uprooted, churning sea
storm 64-73 widescale damage
hurricane 74-136 devastation
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In my home state of Minnesota, windchill is a common topic of conversation for at least nine months out of each year.  Denizens of cold weather regions ignore this phenomena at great risk.  High winds, even on a relatively balmy winter's day can be fatal.  Deaths related to windchill are not as frequent, or as feared, as they once were.  The most likely explaination for this improvement is the availability of shelter to most individuals caught out in windy conditions.  Imagine, though, how terrifying it once was . . . when the shelter of the nearest building was frequently an hour or more away.

Cold air blown by wind increases heat loss at a much faster rate than cold alone.   To determine the windchill factor, and to understand it's impact, multiply the wind speed by 1.5 and subtract it from the temperature of the air.  The resulting temperature reflects the damage that the correct conditions can inflict on human or animal.

wind speed = 10 mph
10 x 1.5 = 15 (degrees)
current temp = 30 degrees Fahrenheit
30 - 15 = 15 degrees F.
wind speed = 30 mph
30 x 1.5 = 45 (degrees)
curent temp = -10 degrees Fahrenheit
-10 - 45 = -55 degrees F.
wind speed = 10 mph 
10 x 1.5 = 15 (degrees)
current temp = 10 degrees Fahrenheit
10 - 15 = -5 degrees F.
wind speed = 30 mph
30 x 1.5 = 45 (degrees)
curent temp = 10 degrees Fahrenheit
10 - 45 = -35 degrees F.
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