Gusty winds on the way in northeast Alabama as a ‘wake low’ moves through Friday afternoon

Hold on to your hats and outdoor Christmas decorations!

A wake low is likely pushing through northeastern Alabama as heavy rain moves through the area. A ‘wake low’ is an area of low pressure that trails an area of rainfall caused by vertical motion in the atmosphere.

Already, wind gusts as high as 30 mph have been reported at Huntsville International Airport as of 2pm Friday afternoon. If you experience any high wind gusts or wind damage, let us know by hitting the button below!

Wake lows are difficult (if not impossible) to see before they develop, and they usually don’t cause as much damage as the one last Sunday night.  One of the most intense in recent history was in April 2009 when wind speeds topped out close to 70 MPH.

How does it work?

Subsidence (sinking air) behind a large area of rainfall in a stable environment warms low-level air; that causes a relatively strong ‘high’ next to a relatively strong ‘low,’ and the wind intensifies between them.

You can see the pressure drop quickly and the wind pick up at Huntsville International as the wake low developed:

Windy weather with these features can last up to two hours, so be watchful!  A few trees and powerlines, or at the least some branches, could fall with gusts approaching 40 MPH.

 



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