A touch of spring was definitely in the air yesterday with sunshine and mild temperatures. Accompanying the generally pleasant conditions were increasingly brisk breezes this afternoon. The breezes are as much a sign of spring as the sunshine and milder temperatures.
Not surprisingly, a wind and small craft advisory has been issued for the Galveston County area from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday. In addition, a gale warning has been posted for area waters as a blustery cold front moves through southeast Texas, with frequent gale force gusts expected offshore.
All of this is fairly typical for this time of year. March and April have the highest average daily wind speeds of any months during the year. This is mostly a result of systems moving rapidly from northwest to southeast with deep surface lows developing along these late winter, early spring cold fronts.
Our local conditions reflect the fact that spring is often windy over the central part of the U.S. In March and April, the jet stream is still active, sending fronts and low pressure systems across the country. As consequence, a steep pressure gradient often develops between the areas of low and high pressure. In addition, the higher sun angle and deeper heating of the atmosphere, causes the warmer surface air to mix to greater heights, increasing upper-level turbulence and transferring energy aloft down to the ground. Locally, this condition is enhanced as the still chilly Gulf waters provide a stark temperature and pressure contrast with the rapidly warming land areas to the north and west.
If there is a plus to this wind, it does seem to bring out the surfers, though I understand that the waves under these conditions remain less than ideal.
At any rate, here are links to the advisories and the general outlook: