Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Everyone Knows It's Windy Season Now

An intense storm over the Great Lakes in late
October, 2010.  
In Burlington, Vermont,  the closest major weather station to my home, aeven of the past ten days in  have had wind gusts of over 30 mph.

Early Sunday, gusts reached 44 mph in Burlington, and to around 50 mph or a little more on and right near Lake Champlain.

A lot more wind is due later this week as a vigorous storm arrives.  The windy season is here for sure!

As we head through fall and into winter, the winds across much of the Northern Hemisphere really crank up. We sure feel that here where I live in Vermont. I bet you notice it, too, readers in the Northeast, Great Lakes, Great Plains and Canada.

True, we sometimes get our strongest, most damaging winds in summer thunderstorms and severe weather, but that never lasts long in any one place.

During the cold season, the wind might not be as strong as during a severe thunderstorm, but boy it lasts a long time.

Storm systems tend to be weak in the summer, even if they occasionally produce rambunctious thunderstorms and flooding downpours. Since the large scale summer systems are pretty puny, they don't produce much wind in large areas.

During the cold season, the jet stream in the northern hemisphere cranks up to something much stronger than it was in July. The temperature contrast between the Arctic and the tropics increases, and the result is stronger low pressure systems, aka storms.

These stronger storms crank out a lot of wind. Commonly, this time of year, we get "The Gales Of November," made famous in the Gordon Lightfoot classic song "The Wreck Of the Edmund Fitzgerald."

This time of year favors a weather pattern in which storms move north from the southern Plains or Gulf of Mexico, and then intensify to monsters over or near the Great Lakes.

These Great Lakes storms tend to intensify in the late fall because the water temperatures there are still comparatively warm, which adds energy to the atmosphere to give the storms more oomph.

One of those most intense Gales of November sank the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior 40 years ago this year. 

Right now, a storm system is forming in that classic November pattern (which often happens in late October and into early December, too.)

Jet stream energy from the north will combine with remnants from Hurricane Patricia along with boatloads of Gulf of Mexico moisture. That will create a hefty Great Lakes storm, not on par with the Edmund Fitzgerald storm, but still pretty hefty.

Later this week, the Gales of November will blow across the Great Lakes, and into the Northeast, including here in Vermont.

Upper elevations in Vermont could see gusts to 60 mph Wednesday night, and the slightly more populated northern Champlain Valley and northwestern New York especially could have gusts over 50 mph Thursday.

High wind warnings are already up in New York near Lakes Ontario and Erie for expected gusts over 60 mph Wednesday.

These gales of November are a sure sign winter is coming, as if you didn't know that already.

 It you haven't gotten a good enough taste of late autumn Vermont winds, here's a brief, slightly shaky video of my yard in St. Albans, Vermont late in the afternoon of November 1, 2013. Winds were gusting to 50 mph at the time:

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