PHOENIX — Windy forecasts are a common theme this time of year in Arizona. This week is no exception, with daily gusts around 20-25 mph in the Valley and 35-50 mph across the high country.
Windy days can be a nuisance by keeping dust and pollen suspended in the air for longer periods. However, the wind symbolizes the changing seasons and that hot weather is right around the corner!
During the spring months, temperatures fluctuate more dramatically, and stronger/colder weather systems traverse the jet stream. The differences in air pressure between an area of high pressure (good weather) and an area of low pressure (wet weather) is what generates wind!
Air will flow from high pressure to low pressure in an attempt to find an equilibrium. The larger the difference in pressure, the higher the wind speed.
Since we get stronger highs and lows this time of year, the winds tend to be stronger too.
This week, there is an area of low pressure off of the California coast. As a result, Arizona will see strong southwesterly winds each day.
On average, April is the windiest month in Arizona. Despite this being a wind start to May, winds typically drop off this month. Winds speeds are the calmest between July and October, not counting monsoon storms!
Anything goes during a monsoon storm! In fact, our strongest wind speed ever recorded in Phoenix happened during monsoon 1976 when the winds were clocked at 86 mph!
Some other notably windy spots in northern Arizona are due to winds rising over the mountains and speeding up on the downslope side. Some notoriously windy spots in Northern Arizona are the Kaibab Plateau, Doney Park, the Little Colorado River Valley, Black Mesa and Chinle Valley.
Here are several videos about Arizona's extreme heat and how you can stay safe during the state's summer months.