From the ABC 7 Weather team

What does 'blustery' mean in the weather forecast, exactly?

December 30, 2011 - 05:00 AM
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Perhaps you've heard it's going to be "blustery" soon in the Washington, D.C., region. That actually means something to a trained meteorologist.

This day at the Horns Rev offshore wind farm near Denmark might be described as blustery. (Vattenfall)

Perhaps you've heard that after the weekend warm bump, it's going to be "blustery" in the Washington, D.C., region. That was the actual term used by the National Weather Service yesterday in a discussion of Monday night's windy, colder weather.

Blustery. What does that mean, exactly?

To believe the throbbing literary brains over at the Merriam-Webster dictionary, blustery weather is that which has a "violent boisterous blowing" quality. A person who is "loudly boastful" or given to "threatening speech" also might be called blustery. But such definitions lack that quantitative flavor that scientists love so much. So it's no surprise that the meteorologists at NOAA have come to associate "blustery" with a precise kind of windy day.

What kind? The answer is readily available at NOAA's online glossary of weather terms. "Blustery" means...  "Same as Breezy." Hmmm, you'd think they'd want to avoid redundancy in the federal government. OK, looking up breezy....

Breezy! That refers to days that have "15 to 25 m.p.h. winds." So a blustery day is one that has enough wind power to make lighting a pipe difficult, but not enough to blow a toupee off a CEO's head in hilarious fashion. Sadly, the filmmakers behind the Academy Award-winning Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day appear to have exaggerated the effects of bluster in their promotional materials. Blustery skies are certainly not conducive to Piglet flying:

what does blustery mean winnie piglet

(Jeezus, and what is up with that crazed rodent? Somebody gets really excited by kiting, I guess?)

In case you're curious, there are well-defined levels above blustery when it comes to weather that whistles through the leaves. A "windy" day, according to NOAA, features 20 to 30 m.p.h. winds. A "very windy" day ups that speed to 30 to 40 m.p.h., perhaps due to a "back door cold front." Any winds above 50 to 60 m.p.h. are considered "damaging" and can make landing an aircraft without fiery explosions kind of hard. "Gusty" days feature rapid changes in wind speed of 10 knots or more.

With that in mind, enjoy Monday's blustery weather!

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