Here's why it's been so windy
(KTEN) – Spring is typically the windiest time of the year with March and April having the highest average wind speeds.
What makes March and April winds typically stronger than other months?
We transition from cold to warm during Spring. When there’s a clash of air masses, with cold air up north and warm, moist air being brought in from the tropics, one of the results is enhanced winds.
How strong have Texoma’s winds been?
Well, they write songs about the winds in Oklahoma so you can imagine it’s been a windy few months.
According to the Oklahoma Mesonet, over 70 percent of April has had winds stronger than 30 mph in Ringling.
As of April 22, Ringling has had 16 days with winds greater than or equal to 30 mph with Sulphur close behind at 15 days.
At least six Texoma cities have had winds over 30 mph for 50 percent of April.
The strongest wind gusts have ranged from 44 to 54 mph. At least three Texoma cities, Ringling, Idabel, and Sulphur, have recorded gusts over 50 mph in April.
Not only has Ringling had the most days with winds over 30 mph in April and the strongest wind gusts in April, it also takes the number one spot for most days this year with gusts over 30 mph.
If you live in Ringling and feel like it’s been windy for most of the year, well, you’re not wrong. Approximately 45 percent of the year has had winds over 30 mph.
In the KTEN viewing area, the strongest wind gusts this year have occurred in Durant, Ringling, Idabel, Pauls Valley, and Sulphur. All five of these cities have seen gusts over 50 mph.
In North Texas, April’s average wind speed is 12.2 mph and March’s average wind speed is 12.1 mph. This year, wind speeds averaged 12.4 mph in March and so far have averaged 15.2 mph in April. Even though the month isn’t over yet, it’s on track to be one of the windiest Aprils on record.
Has this year been windier than normal?
According to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, it’s been the windiest April for North Texas since 1963. So far, wind speeds in April have averaged 3 mph more than normal.
From March 1 through April 20, 23 days had an average wind speed of at least 15 mph. That’s the most since 2011, when there were 29 high wind days in the same period. That year, the average wind speed in April was 14.8 mph.
In North Texas, the windiest April on record was 1951, when wind speeds averaged 17.2 mph.
Sulphur, OK has had one of the windiest Aprils in the last five years. The last time Sulphur saw at least 15 days with winds 30+ mph was in April 2018. The strongest gust Sulphur has seen this month was 50.1 mph. The last time a wind gust reached over 50 mph in April was in 2019 with a gust of 67.1 mph.
Why have winds been so strong?
One of the reasons we’ve had a record number of windy days this month has to do with the pressure gradient force. The pressure gradient is defined as the change in pressure over a distance. The strength of the pressure gradient is what determines the speed or strength of the wind from high pressure to low pressure. The stronger the pressure gradient, the stronger the winds.
The weather pattern in the United States the last few weeks has allowed for a strong pressure gradient. This has led to the strong winds across Texas and Oklahoma.
April isn’t over yet and there’s likely a number of windy days still to come.