Good Question: Why Is It So Windy In The Spring?
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – When running around Lake Calhoun Monday, Brad Homan of St. Paul, Minn. had hoped for a break from the wind, but the air on both sides of the lake hit him right in the face.
“Honestly, for the last week, it’s been pretty bad,” he said.
The spring is traditionally the windiest time for the Twin Cities.
In March, April and May, the average wind speeds measure between 11.3 mph and 12.3 mph. Compare that just under 10 mph in June, July and August.
So, why is it that spring is windier than the summer months following it?
“There’s a couple of reasons. First of all the jet stream is a big one,” WCCO Chief Meteorologist Chris Shaffer said.
For most of the winter the jet stream has been way to our south, but as spring comes along, it starts to lift north.
“It doesn’t lift like a steady bar. What it does is it’s all over the place, so you get these pressure systems, lows and highs that come by and in between them and the wind really cranks up,” Shaffer said.
The jet stream will continue to lift and park itself north of Minnesota for the summer. By the fall, it will start to move south again, making fall a particularly windy season as well.
Shaffer says the spring’s higher sun angle is also a reason for a windier March, April and May.
“As our sun angle is now increasing, it’s hitting the now bare ground and it’s warming the ground and warm air rises, something has to go fill that pocket with that air rising and that’s the wind rushing in,” he said.
So between the lifting stream and the strong sun, spring takes the lead as the windiest season in Minnesota.