Sunday, May 3, 2015

Faceful of March

With winds gusting past 45 m.p.h., get ready for March hair.

Faceful of March

So far this February, Philadelphia's temperatures have averaged within a degree of what they should be for the first 23 days of March.

Officially, the normal temperature from March 1 through 23 is just under 41.5 degrees Fahrenheit; the average through February 23 this year is 40.5, or 5.2 degrees above normal.

So perhaps it is fitting that the region will be getting some March-like winds this evening, perhaps gusting past 45 m.p.h.

A front is going to come through, and the air pressure -- that's the weight of the air -- is going to rise in a hurry.

As that heavier air rushes in, the winds are going to be howling. This is an imprecise but familiar analogy: Think of the compressed air escaping a punctured tire.

For now the National Weather Service has a wind "advisory" up; it has stopped short of an all-out wind "warning" because the strongest gusts won't arrive until after sunset, and thus will get no lift from daytime heating.

Still, this won't be good for your hair. Later-winter winds are notorious, and based on long-term averages, March nudges out February as the windiest month of the year.

This is the result of majestic forces, particularly the rapid advances of warm air at a time when cold air remains entrenched to our north.

Even in a mild winter such as this one, the cold air is out there somewhere ready to do battle with spring and summery upstarts.

That's why those of us in the middle latitudes tend to wind up in an air sandwich.

Hold on to your hats.



Inquirer Weather Columnist
About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

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