Beginners Guides:
Local Winds

Local Winds

Most winds are due to latitude - eg, the Trades Winds blow between 30 degrees and 10 degrees north and south.  This is because of convection currents and because the sun heats up the earth unequally. In contrast, in the "Doldrums" near the equator the air simply rises and falls so there is little wind and sailors have found themselves stranded for weeks on end. However, some winds are peculiar to certain parts of the globe and are therefore described as local winds.

The deserts of the middle east are home to a wind called the Harmatton.  This wind has been known to carry fine dust from  as far out as 100 miles from land.  It creates what is best described as a fog of tiny sand which gets into eyes, lungs and even penetrates the skin.  In Sudan is another desert wind called the Haboob.  This chappie carries dust to over 5000 feet.  The fine dust will get into anything including aircraft engines choking them in minutes.   However do not worry too much if flying in Sudan or sailing in the Middle East - these winds rarely become violent.

The Bora is a feature of the Adriatic sea.  This often powerful wind is not accompanied by rainstorms as it approaches from deserts to the south.  The Bora has been known to roar in full violence despite a clear and sunny day.

Passing across Australia is the strangely named Willy Willy.  This wind can reach tornado violence and bring torrential rain destroying anything in its path.

The Fohn (means hair dryer in German) wind blows in Alpine regions like the Alps in enclosed valleys. It brings in warm dry heat and can last for days on end.  The wind causes rapid snow melt and sometimes flooding.

The United Kingdom is free of any of these wacky winds.  Our (prevailing) winds come from the south west - therefore our depressions and anticyclones have mostly reached us from over the Atlantic.



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