Thursday, November 6, 2008


Either the National Weather Service (NWS) has a new found desire to scare warn the population or it is going to be really windy out here on the plains today. For the first time in my memory, the NWS activated the early warning system to issue a high wind warning for the area.  The warning extends from 5am MST to 6pm MST, so it sounds like a windy day.

On the plus side:

  • I will have an excuse to stay indoors
  • I won't have to rake that last batch of falling leaves
  • I might collect another metal snow shovel (see below)

On the negative side:

  • Internet access will slow to a crawl as the wires sing
  • The wind driven ionization will impart that edgy feeling all day long
  • The windows will rattle and the chimneys howl
  • The patio furniture is still out and will likely fly and move about
  • It will feel colder than it is

I wonder if it will be as windy as it was early in the spring? Then it was windy enough that I gained a new (heavy) metal snow shovel when the wind blew it into the back yard. Of course, I also lost a patio table when the wind sent it tumbling across the yard broke its cast iron legs.

It will be interesting to see if the wind energy facility will have to stop production. Wind turbines depend on a steady wind that does not exceed 40+ mph. The area around here is host to one of the largest wind energy facilities in the world (the ranking depends on whose figures you use). This article in Wikipedia is a bit out of date as the facility is/has been expanded beyond the original size of 267 turbines to 450 turbines and will be expanding even more in the next year. So we see a number of these in the area.
Just to give you a sense of scale, each tower is 237 feet tall and has a 170 foot diameter blade on it. The full assemblage is more than 160 tons. If the blades turn too fast (i.e. the wind is to brisk and the turbine is left in operation), the tips of the rotors go supersonic and the turbulence kills the power generation. Not to mention disturbs everything from wildlife to people with the sonic boom.

Enough boring you to death, on with battening down the hatches.


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