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Unit 14: Wind

How does wind form?

NOAA SciJinks Lesson on Wind

Wind is something that we experience every day, some days winds are light and other days, wind can disrupt your day. March and April tend to be our windiest across eastern Iowa. Average sustained winds are around 12 m.p.h. in March and 12.4 m.p.h. in April, but this does not include wind gust measurement.

March and April are the windiest months of the year in eastern Iowa.
March and April are the windiest months of the year in eastern Iowa.(KCRG)

How exactly does wind form? Simply, wind is just air in movement. That movement is caused by the difference in pressure. The atmosphere is always trying to even itself out, so in turn, high pressure moves towards low pressure. The greater the difference in the pressure, the higher the wind speeds are.

So why does this happen so often in the spring? We normally have a late-winter cooler air mass towards the northern portions of the country and an early spring or warmer air mass towards the southern portions of the country. The cooler air mass has a higher pressure and the warmer air mass has a lower pressure, so in turn, they start to move towards each other.

High pressure always tends to flow towards low pressure and vice versa.
High pressure always tends to flow towards low pressure and vice versa.(KCRG)

We normally have a larger difference in temperatures from north to south in the springtime, the winds tend to be faster. Once we get into the summer, where the temperature difference from the north to the south isn’t as great, winds start to die down. Winds can also be quite gusty during the fall season.

Because the air pressure differs greatly, winds tend to be higher during the spring months.
Because the air pressure differs greatly, winds tend to be higher during the spring months.(KCRG)