Friday, January 9, 2009

Dewdrop asked if the cloud chart I linked to yesterday is available in poster size -- usually National Weather Service offices have them because they hand them out at public events, such as fairs.

So it's worth giving them a call or email and hoping they have some in stock.

And someone from NW Kentucky asked if it has been windier than normal lately.

Without knowing the local climatology that well, I would venture out on a limb and say it probably has been due to the recent weather patterns.

So you can take a look at the weather maps and find where all the high and low pressures are located -- and in places where they are close by, you can pretty much bet it will be windy.

Winds are caused by pressure differences, and pressure is directly related to temperature. Winds blow from higher pressure toward lower pressure.

So if you are in between a high and a low that are pretty close together, you can probably count on a windy day.

With the recent storm track across the northern third of the lower 48 states, almost one every few days, it's brought a lot of wind I am sure, esp. to areas in the middle of the chill to the north and the warm to the south.

Also going out on another limb here, but I would venture to guess many locations have more wind in the colder months than the warmer months simply due to the temperature contrast.

In the middle of the summer, it might be 75 in Minneapolis, 85 in St. Louis, 92 in Memphis and 90 in New Orleans. A difference of only 15 to 20 degrees over 1,000 miles.

In the middle of winter, it might be -12 in Minneapolis, 25 in St. Louis, 40 in Memphis and 53 in New Orleans. A difference of 65 degrees over that same 1,000 miles.

You can also look at the temperature gradients and kinda figure out where it might be windy. If southern Kentucky is in the 40s and 50s, but just north of you, say central Illinois/Indiana/Ohio it is in the teens -- there is a chance since you are located in between you might be getting more wind than normal, due to the tight temperature gradient and pressure differences over a relatively short distance.

The atmosphere is always trying to achieve a perfect state of balance, meaning equal air pressure at all locations.

The way it tries to accomplish this is through wind -- moving air around to fill in areas of lower air pressure.

Although at times the atmosphere may get somewhat close to making it's goal of perfect balance, or equilibrium, it will never get 100%.

This is a good thing or else we wouldn't have weather.

Caleb -- you said you are moving to the city and still want to do CoCoRaHS ...but wondered if you can? OF COURSE!

Although city settings do not provide for the "ideal" placement of a rain gauge (i.e. double the distance away from the nearest tallest object, while avoiding things like overhead powerlines, sheds, etc.) the data from a city is incredible because you typically do not get much weather data from downtown settings.

Most official weather stations are located with the nearest major airports. Very few cities take weather data downtown.

The only trouble you may have is figuring out where and how to install a gauge, but don't let that small detail stop you. There is ALWAYS a way.

And Lenore dropped a note to say how much weather information she gets off of Weather Underground, linked here.

Yes, that is a great weather site with TONS of stuff to browse.


  1. Weather Underground is a great site,I am a subscriber. You can post pics there also which is kinda neat.

    Hi Ryan it has been a wild winter here in Iowa,Record Snows,Nasty Ice events,Now it looks like Record Cold is possible next week.Old fashioned Iowa Winter!

  2. I'm new to blogging and I don't see a place to submit a question so, I'll ask it here! I'm in northern California, and we're into a potential third year of drought. There is some blame placed on the "La Nina" conditions in the Pacific. How far into the future can La Nina be predicted? Is there potential for precipitation in a month or two? Where can I go to find out what is causing our dry spell and when we might expect relief, if any, for this season? Might the aforementioned link provide? I'd like to hear what your thoughts are on the matter. By the way, I provide data for station CA-TY-3.

  3. ok I am at OR-110 LA in Oakridge, Oregon, and I will try my best to send you some rain and snow. We have the opposite here and in Washington state they are flooding evereywhere. As to predicting La Ninas ansd El Ninos its all in the temperature of the waters of the South Eastern Pacific and we ususlly get a pretty good prediction from the OSU climate lab, although with budget cuts all bets are off for the future. Try doing a search for eithe condition and choose the link to Government places, the links that are advertisers are totally worthless Richard Cameron

  4. hi chris-
    i've been monitoring the large blog of frigid air that has been bottled up for weeks over Alaska to anticipate if it would eventually dislodge and plunge into the southeast US, possibly reaching my location in east-central Florida with the potential for the first hard freeze of this winter. i'd say its 50/50 at the moment that it will bring sub-freezing temps to my area, based on the zonal flow deflecting the bulk of the cold air mass out into the Atlantic instead of down the Florida peninsula. if you see anything that indicates the zonal flow will be unable to defend Florida and a high-amplitude flow is setting up next week, i'd love to hear your input. thanks and have a great weekend (stay warm!!) btw, my station ID is FL-BV-3 (Mims 7.5 NNW), i'm about 25 miles NW of the space shuttle's launch pads.

  5. I was anon. but now have an ID. I'm the guy from NW KY who asked about the possibility that it has been windier than normal. What I mean is maybe due to the global warming/climate change possibility that it has been windier than normal because (as I said in the original post) "over the past year".I mean, it seems consistently windier than I remember it being normally.Like I said it may be just my imagination. Maybe I'm just noticing the wind conditions more. I guess I could try looking into some statistical archives and see if there has been any change in average wind conditions.Thanks for the response.

  6. Unrealted Questions:

    1. Author of "Hot Lies" claies that most official US weather recording stations do not meet critieria and many are locate over pavement, heating units and BBQ grills. He postulates that this accounts for poor measurement of US temps and he implied this is why our temps are rising. Is this true?
    2. Weather moves across our maps from west to east then disappears from view. What happens to the weather? Does it cycle to the poles and disapear or recycle around the globe?