16 March 2006

Wind me up 'til I'm winded.

So, as resident research maven (in my apartment, that is), I've been given the task of determining whether or not we're having a banner year for wind. Claire feels that it's been especially windy this year. And while it does seem like there's that runaway train sound outside the window fairly often, I'm not ready to rubber-stamp this year into the record book. Mostly because I can't store lifetime weather info in my brain unless it has to do with snow or heat waves.

So, I hit up wikipedia and the National Weather Service. And while I have yet to come up with a wind record for New York City, I have learned a few things that might be of interest (to big dorks like me). But first, this video of Al Roker fighting the high winds of Hurricane Wilma:

Oh, that Al Roker. He lost a bunch of weight and then just blew away...

Anyway. Wind. First of all, if you read this word a lot, it will lose all meaning. Also you will forget that it has another meaning and pronunciation, such as "I have to wind my watch" (and sentences like that will look really funny).

Accuweather says that our wind highs in the region are in the 20-30 mph range for the next 24 hours, but the regional average is 15-20.

Wikipedia has much sexier wind information, I must say. First of all, the Beaufort Scale. Created by an Irishman in 1806, it's the manner in which we measure winds for nautical purposes. Wikipedia's chart has helpful descriptions of what each level of wind does on land and see. A "gentle breeze," for example, creates "wavelets" at sea and "leaves and small twigs are in constant motion" on land. Gale force winds break twigs (poor twigs!) and cause cars to veer on the road (yeah, that's scary).

I'd say the wind of late is a 6 on the Beaufort Scale. A "strong breeze," if you will.

But, the major influence on global winds is the differential heating of the poles and the equator and the spin of the Earth. So, it's entirely possible that our winds are changing due to global warming. I'm willing to blame everything on global warming (and our idiot president for not signing the Kyoto Accords), including, but not limited to, my current struggle with dry skin.

The other sexy things the Wikipedia has to say about wind are all the many names and effects of winds around the world. The Santa Ana in California, the foehn in Switzerland (I like that one, it makes the Alps visible from Zuerich... the foehn is also "popularly associated with ailments ranging from migraines to psychosis"). I also enjoy the information on Aeolian winds, which cause geographic transformations. Remember Aeolus giving Odysseus the bag of winds in The Odyssey? And then the foolish sailors opened the bag while he was asleep and they were lost at sea yet again?

Now, who else is all wound up about wind? Just me?


Cupcake said...

Nope, no interest in wind, but here's a Deutschy Fun Fact for you: the word for Hair Dryer in German is Der Foehn like the wind (a weather phenomenon also experienced in Austria). Der Foehn is a registered trademark, kind of like asking someone to pass you a Q-Tip. The generic word is "Haartrockner".

Sheena said...

Aw, c'mon Cupcake. Wind! It's fascinating stuff.

By the way, I find it adorable how you capitalize some nouns in English. Like Hair Dryer. It makes me pronounce the words a little bit more forcefully in my head.

I did not know Der Foehn was hair dryer, though. That's almost as good as Handschuhe. Or however it's spelled.

Cupcake said...

You know why I do that funny thing with the capitalization, right? It's because constantly switching between German and English has turned my brain to mush. In German all nouns, all of them, are capitalized, and so I've started doing it inconsistently in English.

Another good word is "Krankenschwester" the German word for nurse. From "krank" meaning sick and "schwester" meaning sister. Literally, Sicksister.

I got a million of 'em.

Sheena said...

Right, I understood the German connection, rather than you getting all Frey on us. :-)

Krankenschwester. Those Germans! Crazy!