Wind Machines! – October 16, 2019
Today we are hosting a post by Chris Tomer, meteorologist on both KDVR FOX-31 and KWGN CW-2 in Denver, Colorado. Chris currently forecasts weather on KWGN’s “Daybreak” from 5 – 9 AM, M-F, and makes appearances on KDVR’s “Everyday” show from 10 -11 AM, M-F.
14ers* are wind machines in the fall and winter months. Gusts routinely reach 50 mph or stronger. Gusts can exceed 100 mph and result in serious injury. An average 175 lb person gets blown over with gusts of 67 mph.
What causes this wind? The sun angle changes (becomes less direct) resulting in longer nights, shorter days, and ultimately colder air temps across across the Northern Hemisphere. This results in atmospheric pressure changes. In the end, the atmosphere above our heads contracts and winds speed-up. The jet stream (around 30,000 feet in the atmosphere where 747’s often cruise) also becomes more active making weekly trips into Colorado.
You can count on at least 2-4 days per week (November-February) where the jet stream blasts the 14er summits. This frequency is even higher on the Front Range 14ers where added pressure differences ramp-up the already strong winds. Think of Bierstadt, Longs, Grays and Torreys as examples. The highest gust on record for Longs Peak is 201 mph set in 1981.
The bottom line is this: Pack your bag and dress for high winds in the fall and winter months on the 14ers. With an accurate forecast you can avoid the windiest days and find those 1-3 days per week with lighter winds. My specialty is mountain weather and always happy to assist climbers reach their goals. Look me up on Facebook anytime: https://www.facebook.com/ChrisTomer/
*14ers: Colorado’s peaks that exceed 14,000 feet