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Over the past few days the winds have been above normal, the strongest winds for the year. Over the past 24 hours ending 8 am Monday, February 27, the mean wind speed has been near 16 knots/18 mph; however, what may have gotten your attention most are the periods of peak winds near 26 knots/30 mph. It is not unusual to have these winds in February; however, it is unusual for the 26/27 February, which has a mean of 9.7 knots/11.1 mph; the mean for February is 12.2 knots/14 mph. The winds seem set to get a bit strong and peak Monday Night – Tuesday, so brace yourself for even stronger winds. Looking beyond mid week, there is a moderate chance of similar winds next weekend and early next week.
Looking at the rest of the region, the winds look to be above normal for most other areas. Actually the winds generally get stronger going south through the Windward Islands with peak mean winds of 27 knots/31 mph and gusting to 35 knots/40 mph. To put these winds in perspective, storm force winds start at 34 knots/39 mph. Some other areas having strong winds are Barbados and Montserrat – 22 knots/25mph; St. Vincent, Martinique, Dominica and Nevis – 17 knots/20 mph.
Winds blow as a result of differential or uneven pressure distributions. In areas where the pressure is even, there are no winds, it’s calm. The greater the differential of pressure or the stronger the pressure gradient, the stronger the winds. As nature would have it, winds blow from high pressure to low pressure in an effort to try to neutralise the uneven pressure. At this time, the pressure gradient across the Caribbean is relatively high with the pressure changing by over 4 millibars per 350 miles across the Northeast Caribbean as compared to the normal (average) of about 4 millibars per 480 miles. This mean that the pressure gradient or pressure differential is about 25% higher that normal.