WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Are there sources for forecasting wind speed and direction(3-5 days)? Also, is it more windy than in the past?

Posted June 1, 2008

MIKE MOSS SAYS:       John,     We include wind forecasts as part iof the seven-day outlook on our main weather page, and if you're thinking of other parts of the country the National Weather Service includes winds in the first three days of their extended outlooks. They also include winds in Coastal Waters and Offshore marine forecasts out to 5 days (you can access these nationwide through this address...

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/forecast.htm.

Otherwise, most wind forecasts are based on computer model projections of surface and near-surface barometric pressure patterns. There are model output statistics products that translate these into likely wind directions and/or speeds. The most detail is avaialble for days one through three while just a rough average speed is available out to ten days. The products that include this data are available at

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/mdl/synop/products.php

The products of most relevance to you would be those that include (MAV), (MET), and (MEX) in their labels and extend to either 84 or 192 hours. Note that under each of these there is a "description" link that will show you how to decode the output.

As for the second part of your question, we have had a number of periods in the past few months with strong pressure gradients in place that produced blustery winds, but of the past three months (March, April, May 2008) only May ended up with an average wind speed that exceeds the 50-year average value. Here is how we stacked up this year...

March mean wind was 8.8 mph, compared to a long term average of 9.1 mph.

April mean wind was 7.3 mph, while the long term average is 8.7.

May mean wind was 7.9 mph, a little above the long-term average of 7.5.

I think there may just be a tendency on all our part to forget about windy days in the past after we've had a tranquil period. The reason I say this is that pretty much every year in the late winter and spring I have several people write in to ask if it's been windier than usual, regardless whether our actual wind values have been a little above normal or a little below!

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