By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There was no question about it — Tuesday was a bad hair day.

Winds gusted more than 50 mph in places across the state. It was a big change from the calm air Minnesotans experienced on Monday.

So, where does wind come from? Good Question.

“We’re in between two areas of pressure,” says Pete Boulay, assistant state climatologist.

Assistant State Climatologist Pete Boulay holds an anemometer to measure wind speed (credit: CBS)

There’s a low pressure system northwest of Minnesota in Canada and high pressure system west in the Rockies. It’s the space between the two where a wind advisory was issued for Tuesday.

The laws of physics say that high pressure air wants to move toward low pressure air. Given wind is the movement of air molecules, the difference between the high and low pressure systems generates stronger winds.

On Tuesday, the wind gusts were so strong that planes at MSP International only took off toward the northwest, some wind farms had to shut down to protect the blades, and several crane operators threw in the towel.

“It’s an air mass change, so what we’re getting right now is from Canada,” says Boulay. “It tends to be cooler up there and that’s why we’re colder.”

Heather Brown


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