May 3, 2009 in Idaho Voices

How does wind affect you?

Michelle Boss
 

Before I talk about a bit of Bloomsday weather trivia, I wanted to invite readers to give me some feedback regarding wind forecasts.

One of the pieces of the weather forecast that is usually near the bottom of the priority list, both in time spent forecasting and time spent presenting (on TV), is wind. Unless I see a feature on the weather charts that would bring potentially damaging winds, or even sustained periods of very strong winds to the area, I don’t give the wind forecast a lot of thought. I suspect that the average person who gets up, gets in his/her car to go to work, works all day indoors, and then comes home, finds his/her daily life impacted very little by the wind.

Recently, however, when I’ve been wearing my “average person” rather than meteorologist’s hat, I’ve found that windy conditions have hampered a task that I was trying to get accomplished – or just made otherwise pleasant weather unpleasant. I’m not talking about gale force winds either, but winds say, in the 15 to 25 mph range.

On a recent morning, which was otherwise sunny and somewhat mild, my poor 3-year-old son decided to cut short his bike ride around the neighborhood, because the persistent winds were freezing his little hands.

On another occasion, I was trying to sweep out my garage, but every step forward took me two steps back as the wind would continually blow debris back in and all around. And don’t ever try to adjust your sprinklers on a windy day.

So what about you? Do you ever pay attention to the wind forecast? Has a poor wind forecast ever caused any of your plans to go awry? Do you wish that more wind information would be given, for example, on days when an increase or shift in wind is expected?

Folks participating in Bloomsday would probably say that wind speed and direction have an impact on their running. The popular race, because it occurs in the spring, has seen every type of weather that the Inland Northwest can throw at it.

Historically, “bloomies” have run in sun, wind, rain, graupel (soft hail), and even snow. The two warmest Bloomsday starts occurred in 1977 and 1989, when 8 a.m. temperatures were 59 and 58 degrees respectively. The coldest start was back in 1988, when 8 a.m. temps were a chilly 34 degrees with reports of early morning snow.

Four years earlier, in 1984, 0.8 inches of snow was measured the morning of Bloomsday, with a start temp of 37 degrees. Wind, not cold, plagued runners in 1990 with southwest winds gusting to 30 mph during the race.

This year it looks like Bloomsday early morning temps will be in the mid to upper 40s, slightly above average, though runners may have to dodge rain showers during the race.

Michelle Boss can be reached at weatherboss@comcast.net.


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