Changing weather stokes winds

Wind in Kansas is nearly as predictable as the sunrise. But the past few days have seemed windy even for Kansas, and today is poised to offer yet another dose.

"It has been unusually persistent," WeatherData president Mike Smith said Tuesday.

Winds were howling in most of the state Tuesday, with gusts commonly topping 45 mph. Wichita was under a wind advisory from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, which marked two solid weeks of wind gusts topping 30 mph.

Those strong winds also prompted a warning of extreme fire danger in 14 counties in central Kansas. The warning included Reno and Kingman counties, but not Sedgwick.

Smith said the recent strong winds reflect the contrast between the spring warm-up in the southern U.S. and lingering snowpack and cold temperatures in the northern states.

The past few weeks have been marked by "amazingly strong" jet streams, Smith said.

Upper-level winds above Kansas were traveling at 150 mph Tuesday, for example. Potent low-pressure systems have been riding the jet stream through the region.

"You've got this huge amount of energy in the atmosphere that is triggering all this wind," Smith said.

Residents of the Wichita area have coped with the wind in a variety of ways.

Deena Flanigan Kreutzer tried to give what she described as the "wicked wind" a positive spin.

"It added resistance training to my run" Tuesday night, she wrote on Twitter.

But there was no getting around it for Jordan Walker — the wind spoiled her day.

"I've given up on a good hair day, I can't ride my bike and it knocked over my Red Bull," Walker posted on Twitter.

Today won't be much better, either — though the robust winds will be out of the north because a storm front moved through the Wichita area Tuesday night.

The passage of the front will bring lower temperatures to the area today, with highs topping out in the mid-50s, several degrees below the low temperature Tuesday.

But temperatures should begin climbing again Thursday, National Weather Service meteorologist Robb Lawson said, and vigorous winds could well mark the weekend.

"April and May tend to be more of your windier months" in Kansas, Lawson said. "Every few days you're going to have one of these systems coming through, and ahead of it you're going to see some wind."

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