Wind gusts reached up to 58 miles per hour on Monday and a more wind is predicted over the next couple of days, according to Matt Lehenbauer, Woodward emergency management director.
Lehenbauer predicts there will be a bit of a lull this afternoon, then pick up again Wednesday with gusts reaching up to 30-33 mph.
“It’ll continue until the dry line and cold front pass through,” Lehenbauer said, noting a dry line is the boundary between dry air to the west and moist air to the east and when it mixes with a cold front, high winds develop.
“Oklahoma is one of the few places on earth that gets that kind of setup,” Lehenbauer said. “The dry line is seen only in the Midwest -- nowhere else in the world. That’s because of the geography of the U.S. Rockies to the west and the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.”
“Those two geographical factors affect the way the jet stream pattern takes and that contributes to the formation of that dry line,” he said, noting a dry line causes “atmospheric mixing,” the actual cause of wind.
“We always see this anytime a dry line comes through,” Lehenbauer said.
What moves a dryline and cold front into the area are low and high pressure gradients, he said.
Cold air likes to sink, and warm air likes to rise, and when you have the two, that’s when you see dry lines pick up, Lehenbauer said.
He likened it to a blown up balloon, and noted pressure in the balloon is higher on the inside than the outside.
“The pressure wants to even out, so when it’s released, it blows out,” he said -- like the wind.”
To measure wind speed, an instrument known as an anemometer is used, Lehenbauer said. The instrument has small cups that attach to a sensor. As it spins, it interprets the speed of the wind.
“We also have a piece of equipment that shoots a high sensory sound into the wind that bounces back and measures wind force,” he said.
“We only get a few days a year with this high wind without a storm,” Lehenbauer said.
While winds up to 50 mph can cause light tree limb damage and throw trash cans and lawn chairs around, he said, most homes can withstand winds up to 120 m.p.h.
Lehenbauer said this wind marks a good time to see how the roof is going to hold up when severe weather strikes.
“Any loose items, like loose shingles, will be pulled up,” he said.