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Published: 2007-05-29 13:29:03
Updated: 2007-05-29 13:29:03
Posted May 29, 2007
MIKE MOSS SAYS: Dave, Interesting question, and really you're asking at a time of year when we're heading into the part of the year with the least wind on average here in central NC, what with the jet stream and associated traveling low pressure systems retreating more and more to the north. We do have a fairly frequent southwest wind that'll tend to run about 5-10 mph in open areas during the summer, as the axis of the Bermuda high at the surface lingers across the southeastern U.S., but I gather you might want something a bit steadier and stronger.
In general, wind at surface level tends to be stronger in the presence of tight large-scale pressure and temperature gradients, that is when we are between low pressure and high pressure systems with a large pressure differential over a fairly short horizontal distance, as represented by the number of isobars of equal pressure across NC, and or in the vicinity of an approaching or departing frontal boundary. In addition, hilltops and open terrain where trees and buildings are relatively absent will tend to have higher relative wind speeds.
In terms of seeking out windier spots in our state, especially through the next several months, you might consider trying to make your way to the coast on especially warm days where a sea breeze will tend to develop that can reach around 10-20 mph during the late morning and early afternoon, or similarly to mid-elevation locations in the the west where mountain-valley circulations driven by differential heating of the rough terrain often set up during the same time time of day. Of course, as we move into the tropical cyclone season there may be a few of those that approach closely enough to boost wind speeds here in central sections of the state as well. Finally, in general surface winds tend to be strongest in the latter half of the morning through mid afternoon, and slacken during the late afternoon and evening hours to an overnight minimum.
Here are a couple of places you can look for wind speed forecasts that you might find useful. In a text format, this page will lead you to computer model statistics forecasts for the next 48-60 hours or so (and in less detail, out 7 days or so). Look in particular for wind speeds over 10 or 15 mph and for days in which winds stand out as stronger than typical over a period of a few days.
You might like to review the following for help in decoding and interpreting these forecasts...
For a graphical look at computer models that includes some wind info, you might try this address:
Here you would click on the "Loop all times" box and then click "MSLP/WInds" and you will see a model depiction of pressure and surface wind barbs/contours for every six hours from a model called "ETA." Clicking one of the blue boxes called RUC or GFS will switch you to other models with shorter and longer time horizons. In each case, watch for situations where the model indicates higher wind speed based on shaded contours (beginning at 15 knots) and wind barbs that have more than one hash on them ( a single short hash is 5 knots, a single long hash is 10 knots, and so on, with a knot equal to 1.15 miles per hour).
Hope that helps, and good luck!