Wind is the natural flow of gases on a large scale. On earth the this means the movement of air. Wind is caused by differences in the atmospheric (or barometric ) pressure. When a difference in pressure exists, air moves from the higher to the lower pressure area, resulting in wind. Because of the rotation of the earth, air will also be deflected by the Coriolis effect, except exactly on the equator.
In our area, wind is also affected by sea breezes. The ocean is warmed by the sun more slowly because of water's greater specific heat compared to land. As the temperature of the land rises, the land heats the air above it by conduction. The warm air is less dense than the surrounding air, and so it rises. The cooler air above the sea flows inland, creating a cooler breeze near the coast. Sea breezes only occur when the prevailing winds are low and are usually more pronounced in our area during the winter months when the temperature of the Gulf of Mexico is relativity cold compared to the land. RECON reports wind speed in Miles per Hour (mph) or Meters per Second (m/s).
The Beaufort wind force scale is an empirical measure that relates wind speed to observed conditions at sea or on land. It was developed in 1805 by Francis Beaufort. While not in common use today, the scale still provides a guide for determining wind speed from sea conditions.
The Beaufort Scale
||Sea is like a mirror
||Ripples with appearance of scales; no foam crests
||Small wavelets; crests of glassy appearance, not breaking
||0.5 - 1
||7 - 10
||Large wavelets; crests begin to break; scattered whitecaps
||2 - 3
||11 - 16
||Small waves, becoming longer; numerous whitecaps
||3.5 - 5
||17 - 21
||Moderate waves, taking longer form; many whitecaps; some spray
||22 - 27
||Larger waves forming; whitecaps everywhere; more spray
||9.5 - 13
||28 - 33
||Sea heaps up; white foam from breaking waves begins to be blown in streaks
||13.5 - 19
|| 34 - 40
||Moderately high waves of greater length; edges of crests begin to break into spindrift; foam is blown in well-marked streaks
||18 - 25
||41 - 47
||High waves; sea begins to roll; dense streaks of foam; spray may begin to reduce visibility
||23 - 32
||48 - 55
||Very high waves with overhanging crests; sea takes white appearance as foam is blown in very dense streaks; rolling is heavy and visibility is reduced
||56 - 63
||Exceptionally high waves; sea covered with white foam patches; visibility further reduced
||37 - 52
||Huge waves. Sea is completely white with foam and spray. Air is filled with driving spray, greatly reducing visibility.
Disclaimer: Data presented on the RECON web site is provisional in nature and should not be used to make decisions that concern personal or public safety.