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zwerob

Winds effect on Nor'easter precip.

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I know that in marginal temps 38-40F heavier bands of precip can bring cold air down and prevent flakes from melting into rain. I can't help but notice that wind gusts at temperatures in light to moderate precip also affect the type precip. Calm=more likely to be rain/mixed, gusts=mixed or completely snow. Basically the rn/mx/sn line waffles with heavy bands and gusts. Does windchill also affect the type of precipitation? Am I the only one who's made this observation?

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If it's gusty, you might be able to draw down more flakes from aloft because of a small downburst within a band of precipitation or some sort of atmospheric mixing. Precipitation intensity also matters, probably more than wind. Wind chill is essentially the multiplier effect of temperature with wind.

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I know that in marginal temps 38-40F heavier bands of precip can bring cold air down and prevent flakes from melting into rain. I can't help but notice that wind gusts at temperatures in light to moderate precip also affect the type precip. Calm=more likely to be rain/mixed, gusts=mixed or completely snow. Basically the rn/mx/sn line waffles with heavy bands and gusts. Does windchill also affect the type of precipitation? Am I the only one who's made this observation?

I haven't noticed this.  I don't think it makes sense to me, other than what Tom suggests.

 

A word about wind chill:  Wind chill is the effect of the wind blowing away the air near your skin that your body warms through infrared radiation, combined with the effect of pushing large quantities of ambient air against your skin which reduces your body temperature through increased conduction of heat.  I.e., in calm conditions, the air directly around your skin is actually warmer than the ambient temperature because it is absorbing heat from your body.  Gusty winds blow ambient air against your skin, removing the warmed air near your body and increasing your skin's contact with air at ambient temperature. 

 

Since melting is a heat ABSORPTION process, taking heat away from the surrounding atmosphere, wind which doesn't involve advection (movement of warmth/cold) might actually make precipitation melt faster.

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