ORLANDO, Fla. – The wind this week has been strong and it’s forecast to get a little stronger before letting up.
Often, we may hear the breeze “howling” during strong wind events like hurricanes. Some may say they can hear a light breeze whistling as it passes by. Did you know it’s not the wind you hear, but objects reacting to the wind that actually produce the sound?
Let’s talk about it.
The wind is simply air in motion. When the wind is reported, the horizontal speed and direction are what people care about.
For instance, on Tuesday the wind is out of the east-northeast with speeds around 20 mph and gusting even higher.
Over the next couple of days, the east wind will continue to pick up with sustained or constantly blowing speeds ranging from 15-25 mph and gusting even as high as 30-40 mph.
Whether you play golf, ride a bike, captain a boat or work high up on tall buildings or power lines, the wind can make all the difference in how a person makes decisions about their day. Imagine wanting to fly a kite and the wind is calm. Those plans would get changed, right?
Here’s the thing. We can’t actually see the air moving nor can we hear it.
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The wind’s motion can be measured by the force that it applies to objects. It can be either friction, rolling or rubbing that causes the sounds, but it’s always the object’s reaction to the wind that makes the sound.
When the wind comes into contact with a structure — like a building, window or tree — it causes friction which produces sound waves. Eolian or Aeolian tones, like the whooshing or humming sound associated with the wind, travel through the air making a wide variety or range of sounds depending on what the wind came in contact with.
During a hurricane, given the intense nature of the storm, most people associate the wind hitting the windows as an eerie howling wind. On the other hand, the sound of gentle long grasses moving back and forth on a sunny day may sound more relaxing. Sounds of weather elements, like the wind, are often used in white noise machines or apps on phones to help people relax or sleep.
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