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Bursts of Wind in Northwest Wisconsin

Updated: 06/17/2014 11:01 AM
Created: 06/17/2014 10:15 AM WDIO.com

A strange atmospheric phenomenon occurred in northwest Wisconsin Monday night. Winds suddenly picked up seemingly out of nowhere with wind gusts at times exceeding 50mph. A viewer, Bonnie Schultz, recalled the event in an email:

"The wind is tremendous here in the Stone Lake/Hayward area right now! Is there any warnings we should know about? I haven't seen wind like this in a long time!"

There were no severe storms in the area at the time of the gusty observations. Our morning meteorologist, Ben Dery, explains what he thinks caused the sudden bursts of wind:

"It's called a "wake low". It's a rare occurrence that has to do with sudden changes in air pressure. During the time of the reports, there was an area of dissipating rain showers near the Hayward Lakes region with stronger storms across central Wisconsin. Rain cooled air sinks rapidly generating a pocket of lower pressure. Siren experienced a drop in air pressure of close to 2.5 millibars within a half hour. Not long afterwards, the air pressure suddenly rose 6 millibars in 40 minutes. To put that into perspective, a 3 millibar drop in air pressure in 3 hours is deemed significant in the meteorology world. When you have such swings in air pressure, wind speeds rapidly increase which is what we saw last night. They are nearly impossible to forecast."

There were no reports of wind damage Monday night. Below are some of the wind gusts reported:

Hayward Airport - 51mph at 9:18pm
Siren - 46mph at 8:10pm
Phillips - 40mph at 11:35pm
Fifield - 38mph at 11:47pm
Grantsburg - 36mph at 7:10pm

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