Friday, December 29, 2006

It's all relative

This week has certainly been windy in our area. Mark and I were debating whether it was windier than "windsday" this past March?

First, I checked the jet stream and surface winds analyses at the California Regional Weather Server. Then I decided that was a misapplication of technology; I need only check the relative wind strengths at a few nearby weather stations.

From the pier in Santa Monica, a storm in January had stronger winds. In Manhattan Beach*, this week's peak speed of 28 mph was stronger than March's 25 mph. Redondo Beach sat on the fence--both storms had similar wind gust speeds of 30 mph.

Then I realized that I had fallen into another technology trap. Those wind gauges doesn't tell me the relative wind strengths at my house.

Because I don't have a wind gauge, I will have to use my eyes. Look at this tree across the street. It remained upright through the March 2006 storm only to list to the south this week after the storm. That's how the old meteorologists did it. They walked around with their eyes open and looked at the trees.

Read the entire Windsday series.

* There's a rumor in meteorology circles that the MB weather station is not installed at the regulation height, biasing their wind measurements relative to properly installed stations.  I have no first hand information about that.

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