As wind advisories continue to gust into campus, Waco winds have often left students hanging onto their hats and pulling their hair back.
According to chief meteorologist at KWTX-TV Brady Taylor, a wind advisory is issued for a day containing winds of about 30 mph and wind gusts up to 40 or 50 mph.
“Windy days in the spring are typical in Central Texas because we see a lot of changes in the atmosphere as we get squeezed between high pressure and low pressure,” Taylor said.
“Typically, during this time of year — March, April, May, sometimes June and again toward October and November — we have these big storm systems that move through the Central U.S.,” Bellafiore said. “Ahead of and behind those storm systems, we can sometimes get strong winds.”
Bellafiore said wind gusts above 60 mph become a high wind warning rather than a wind advisory. He also said Waco’s location and transitionary climate east of the Rocky Mountains create a perfect position for developing fast storm systems.
“Everything with wind is due to pressure,” Bellafiore said. “Air flows from high pressure into low pressure and steadily increases as these systems gain strength. [During] the spring, the storm systems move across the Rocky Mountains and strengthen really fast. The air around low pressure flows counter-clockwise, which pulls south winds in, and the south winds ahead of storm systems are usually very strong. When we have cold fronts move through, since it is counter-clockwise, behind the cold front, you get winds coming from the north … It may just be windy for us, but in other parts of the country, there could be a blizzard, severe thunderstorms or stronger winds.”
Bellafiore said April 2022 is one of the windiest Aprils since 2011, in which half of the month contained wind advisories, with an above-average wind speed of about 13 mph.
“Unfortunately, [the wind] stops when the hot, dry weather [arrives] in the summer because high pressure builds in and shuts off the wind and builds in the heat,” Taylor said. “The wind is annoying, but it is a good sign that stuff is changing and moving.”
The similarity between the number of wind advisories this April and the number in 2011 creates concerns for a hot summer, similar to the drought of 2011, Bellafiore said.
However, both Bellafiore and Taylor said not much can be done to prepare for wind advisories other than being mindful of outdoor furniture, decorations and road conditions, especially for large vehicles.