Illustration of a “wake low” pressure

If you were out and about Tuesday afternoon, you probably felt the strong wind gusts. These strong gusts occurred after the heavy rain and storms moved through. Winds gusted up to nearly 40 mph at times.

These strong wind gusts were most likely due to something in meteorology we call a “wake low.” A wake low is a surface low pressure that develops behind a departing rain mass. It happens on what we call a “mesoscale” level or smaller scale in the atmosphere. What happens is that the air behind the rain and storms is warm, drying and sinking through the atmosphere, creating a low pressure in the “wake” of the departing rain. This descending air has high momentum and as it sinks can create gusty winds.

Here’s a look at some of the peak gusts we saw today!