The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Snow drift dynamics

Snow drift

Here's a puzzle for you --- if a snow drift builds up on the south side of the trailer when only the south and west sides are enclosed with skirting, what's the prevailing wind direction? (Guess now --- the answer is in the next paragraph!)

Snow drift dynamicsAccording to the University of Wyoming, the trailer is acting like a windbreak, allowing snow to build up on the downwind side of the barrier. So, during this storm at least, the winds came from the north. (Drat! We chose the wrong half of the trailer to enclose during our warm spell before the next storm hit.)

Is that the prevailing wind direction? I guess I'll have to pay attention to more snow drifts this winter and find out!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Never mind snow drifts, pay attention to which direction the wind blows, and not just during storms but all year round. You might find that in good weather, the wind comes from the southwest, or south; during storms, and depending upon whether it's summer or winter, you might find the storms coming from the north, northwest, or west during winter, and maybe even the same direction during the summer. For example, where I am in NE TN, the wind usually comes out of the southwest. When storms approach, however, and they're going to be really bad storms, (I live in a wind tunnel here), the wind initially comes out of the southeast. It has to do with the rotation of the wind around the Low that's the center of the storm. Now it used to be back when I first moved here 18 years ago (!) that the storms in the summer came out of the west or southwest and during the winter, out of the northwest, and sometimes out of the west. It's all screwed up now with climate change and I can get the wind out of the east (bad), southeast (really bad), south (bad but not disasterously so), southwest (normal), west (normal), northwest (normal) or sometimes even out of the north and northeast.
During snowstorms, which usually come out of the northwest or sometimes, out of the west, my front porch, facing east, always, always, always gets snow more heavily than anywhere else. That's probably due to what you noted in your post.

Keep blogging! I love to read of your adventures and I have learned a lot! :)

Comment by Nayan Mon Jan 15 10:54:55 2018

Is this useful?

The ASOS network is the only one I found to have wind roses. They're all at airports I tried to pick the closest to you but I don't remember exactly where you are...

You may find your home is pretty different, there's lots of hills in that area. At the very least it gives a rough outline of the yearly (and monthly) wind patterns in your area.

Comment by Milton Tue Jan 16 09:10:19 2018

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