Apr 26, 2022 - News

A gusty month: Minnesota's cold spring fuels high winds

Illustration of a snow globe filled with a windswept house and tree

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Blown away by this month's windy weather? You're not imagining it.

The big picture: April is Minnesota's windiest month, and this year, winds are whipping more β€” and faster β€” than usual, Sven Sundgaard, a meteorologist with MPR and Bring Me The News, told Axios.

  • The average wind speed for the month so far is about 13 mph, higher than the typical 11 mph.

The even bigger gusts: On four days this month, we've hit 50 mph or more without a thunderstorm, Sundgaard said.

Why it matters: The conditions aren't exactly conducive to enjoying our "spring" outdoors. But on a more consequential note, forceful winds can cause tree and property damage, especially when we've been battered for days and weeks on end.

Driving the trend: Rapid changes in temperature fuel winds, Sundgaard said, because it sets air on the move.

  • While winds have been higher than usual all year, fluctuations prompted by the unusually cold (and wet) weather prompted this month's howls.

The silver lining: The gales are generating power. Gusts turning the state's many turbines on Sunday were strong and constant enough to keep the lights on at the equivalent of 4 million homes, per Climate Central data.

  • For context, today's calmer skies will power closer to 1.1 million.

Plus: In addition to practically erasing last year's drought, the cold, wet start to spring means the winds aren't pushing around a ton of pollen (yet).

  • "Tree buds, everything is way behind. So allergy sufferers are also noticing that it's not as bad as it normally would be," Sundgaard said.

What's next: We get a break today, but models showing below normal temperatures into early next month β€” plus a storm system moving in this weekend β€” mean we should brace ourselves for more wind.


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