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Wind and the role it plays in weather

A nice spring tease has been underway across Mid-Missouri, as temperatures have been climbing into the 60s the past few days. Accompanying that is very breezy conditions, of which many locations saw gusts up to 35 mph Monday afternoon. While windy conditions can be annoying at times, be thankful we have wind.

Without wind, the weather would cease to exist, as it’s the biggest driver of weather changes across the globe. Essentially, the wind is the vehicle in our atmosphere that is moving temperatures and water vapor from one area to another.

Understanding wind and the fluidity of the atmosphere can help explain why we see colder air on some days, followed by warmer air on other days.

Think back to Monday afternoon when the breezy conditions were quite noticeable across the region. How did the wind feel and from what direction were they blowing?

Here in Mid-Missouri, southwesterly winds are a key component in not only warming us but usually bring temperatures that far exceed expectations, thanks to something called compressional warming.

While it’s not rare to see this happen during January, it is unusual seeing as our average high falls in the upper 30s. Historical records back this up as well, as only 32 years since 1890 have seen temperatures never exceed 60 in January, the most recent being 2011.

While the brief spring tease has been enjoyable, a quick shift in our winds over the coming days will bring the return to colder air into Mid-Missouri as we settle back into winter.

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