We all know that in this area, it can seem as if the warm, sunny weather is here to stay (finally!) but then it becomes colder, wetter, and windier for a stretch of time. Welcome to spring in Pennsylvania!
But why does this happen? Is PA cursed? It may appear that way, but nope. The east coast just gets hit by different pressurized air masses. Simple.
The transition of seasons is not an easy one. Meteorologists have noticed patterns through out the years that the cold weather of the winter (high pressure air masses that move down from the North) and the increasing amount of sunshine (low pressure masses that move up from the South) merge together and produce lots of wind. The merging of these particular air masses usually occurs around March, but may continue into April and early May. When varied air masses move across the Unites States, the temperature will vary with the masses. This is why one day may be sunny and 75 degrees and the next is wet, windy and in the 50’s.
You may think that the Earth would welcome the increased amount of sunlight after a long winter, but it doesn’t at first! The strong sunshine heats the earth’s surface and because the warmed up air is lighter than the cold air, it rises. This increased amount of warmer air in the atmosphere so suddenly brings down strong winds. After the sun has continued to warm up the earth’s surface and the atmosphere for a few more weeks, the cold air masses will move back north where they belong and the temperature will stop fluctuating as much. This return to normalcy will even out the winds.
Spring may not be a fun or easily predictable time in PA, but take heart that things will soon even back out and we will see those sunny, warmer days stick around!
For a more in depth look at how pressure affects wind, check out these cool links!