Wind “energy”

Posted February 3rd, 2010 by kcorliss. Comment (0).

Two weeks ago the local area received a little over an inch of moisture. Of that only about two inches was snow, the rest rain. Then the wind came with gusts over 50 m.p.h. It’s difficult to explain to folks in more southerly climes just what wind like that does to snow.

It’s been estimated North Dakota still has 30% of its corn crop left standing in the field awaiting a hopeful spring with dry conditions so the farmers can get at it before planting next year’s crop.

Here’s a shot of an unharvested corn field showing the wind’s effect on snow and how it gathers behind and among whatever barrier stands in its way.

This scene is repeated all over the area with the first 75 feet or so of windward rows being packed with drifted snow leaving the rest of the field fairly clean. Farmers tell me the covered rows will be unfortunately lost, with moisture doing a nasty job on the ears.

Wind acts as a motive force flowing similarly to the way water acts on particulate matter. In a previous life I used to do a little hobby gold panning. Stream or river gold is never found in front of large obstacles such as rocks, instead gathering behind. Just like snow.

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