How to predict wind speed

January 23, 2009 11:02:24 AM PST
We use computer model data to help us determine how strong the winds will be. The computer model data is used to make forecast maps.

Erica's Answer:

When meteorologists look at these forecast maps, there are certain things that can indicate a windy day. For instance, it's often windy after a cold front passes. Also, if an area of high pressure is close to a center of low pressure, the land between those two pressure centers has windy conditions.

We're looking for areas with a tight pressure gradient- that is the difference between high pressure and low pressure. A tight pressure gradient is easy to spot on a map when the isobars are drawn. Isobars, which are lines of constant pressure, will be close together when there is a tight pressure gradient. Winds are light in areas where the isobars are spread widely apart.

- Erica