“I hear the wind among the trees, playing the celestial symphonies; I see the branches downward bent, like keys of some great instrument.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Weather in the Foothills two weeks ago questioned the nature of wind. To recap, I pondered, “So is wind good or bad? On one hand it’s the force behind devastating wildland fires. On the other hand, it is the force that drives storms carrying life-essential water. Over the years wind has taken another job as well. Stay tuned until the week after Thanksgiving…”
With turkey leftovers hopefully gone we’ll now continue the windy story.
Many years ago, Mother Nature began to let go or share a little of her wind’s force. Egyptians, primarily pharaohs and the royal family, used wind energy to propel papyrus reed skiffs along the Nile River as early as 5,000 BC. By 200 BC, windmills with woven-reed blades were grinding grain throughout the Tigris Euphrates region – an area in the Near or Middle East known for its early and abundant grain cultivation. Farther to the east, in China, simple wind-powered water pumps were used. Heron of Alexandria designed a windmill in Roman Egypt in the first century; this was the earliest known instance of wind intentionally creating power. New ways to use wind energy eventually spread around the world.
Wind energy captures the natural wind in our environment and converts the air’s motion into mechanical energy. Wind is caused by differences in atmospheric pressure. Wind speeds vary based on geography, topography and season. As a result, there are some locations better suited for wind energy generation than others. In general, wind speeds are higher near the coast and offshore since there are fewer objects like vegetation, mountains and buildings to slow them down.
Wind energy has several benefits. It can help alleviate energy scarcity in nations of all sizes and income levels and reduce the use and purchase of fossil fuels. It sounds almost too good to be true. Is it? Next week’s column will tell.
Steady rains fell yesterday, Wednesday, morning. A few stray showers may hang around today but more than likely it will be dry. A low-pressure system moving into Oregon is causing speculation in the weekend’s forecast. Meteorologists are confident in calling for a wet weekend and bets are for a wet Saturday well into the evening.
Will it rain on the 43rd Annual Montrose Christmas Parade? If the present forecast holds tight, there is a 40% chance for a wet parade. Dress warmly, carry an umbrella and welcome in the holidays!
Recent Storm – 1.05 inches
Total for 2019-20 Rain Season – 3.00 inches
Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter
for the National Weather Service.
Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.