LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Wind gusts typically occur during severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, but their impacts can be felt on a regular basis.
Despite their regularity, wind gusts are often an overlooked part of severe weather.
But how exactly do wind gusts happen?
The cause of wind gusts can vary, from friction in the atmosphere creating turbulence, a change in wind direction the further we go up into the atmosphere, or solar heating at the surface.
Wind gusts can also vary in terms of speed.
Obviously the faster the gust, the bigger the impact or damage that can happen.
With gusts from 20 to 25 miles per hour, your trash can would probably end up in the neighbor’s yard, or even down the street in some situations.
The National Weather Service usually issues wind advisories when there are wind gusts around 38 miles per hour. Though there are advisories, the impacts from this gust speed are fairly minor, but you may have some trouble walking.
Now let’s move it on up to high wind warning territory- around 40 and even 50 miles per hour. At this rate, this is when branches and large limbs from trees begin to fall, and powerlines begin to fall.
Around 50 miles per hour is when scattered power outages and live wires become a bigger concern. In severe cases of wind gusts, structural damage to homes with loose shingles or shutters can occur.
Finally, with wind speeds between 55 to 65 miles per hour, trees can be completely uprooted, and power outages become more widespread.
The bottom line?
Wind gusts and any high wind advisories or warnings should be taken seriously.
Remember, wind gusts can occur on a sunny day or even on days when there is not a drop of water in the sky.