Strong winds Wednesday: Here’s the culprit behind the gusts

Weather News

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) — Wind is a fast current of air that brushes up against your face and skin and can bring a chill in the air, but what actually forces the increasing speed?

Let’s get to the basics: wind all starts with temperature.

The sun warms up the air but it does so unevenly, which meteorologists call differential heating. This happens since the sun hits places at different angles, and since other areas are near oceans, other bodies of water and topography — like valleys and mountains. All of those can cause differential heating, creating areas of warmer air, and cooler air.

Air is a gas, which means its pressure changes with temperature changes. This creates areas of high pressure and low pressure which can also affect the chances of rain and storms. The atmosphere is always trying to get back to normal. To attempt to get to this equilibrium, the air moves from high pressure to low air pressure to try to even out.

The bigger the difference in the pressure and the closer together those air pressure differences, the faster the air will move, which is what we know as a windy day.

Wednesday, we had high pressure to the southwest and a particularly strong low-pressure area to the northeast, which resulted in gusts over 20 mph.

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