After the windiest winter in decades, strong gusts are again on the horizon

The winter temperatures in the Twin Cities this year finished below average, the coldest in eight years. But it was also the gustiest in more than five decades, which made it feel so much colder than the thermometer may otherwise have shown.  

Thanks to the research of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the State Climatology Office, we can confirm that the Twin Cities experienced 46 calendar days from December through February with peak wind gusts over 30 mph. That is by FAR the most recorded since reliable records for wind gusts began back in the 1970s.

Windy winter

December to February was the "gustiest" winter in five decades (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the State Climatology Office,  / FOX 9)

That means that half, literally HALF of our days this past winter had wind gusts at or above 30 mph. That is astonishing, and easily the most ever recorded in one winter. Gusts over 40 mph also set a record, appearing on 12 of our calendar days over the winter.

As we all know now, thanks to our abundant use of wind chill in the cold season, it feels colder when there are higher breezes. This means that wind chills really were quite cold for much longer periods of time over our three-month period, making our already below average winter feel just that much colder.

So why was this year so windy? And why are we trending windier over the last few years versus the last few decades? Well, we don't really know. It could be a host of things from decadal pattern shifts, to an ever-evolving jet stream, to climate change, or some kind of long-term pattern shift. But honestly, your guess is as good as mine as some large-scale research will be needed to try to pin down an answer.

Back to this week though, as gusty conditions will once again return as our next clipper pushes through late Thursday and into Friday. Check out how the gusty conditions will likely evolve through Saturday.

Gusts quickly increase behind a cold front late Thursday night and then peak Friday afternoon when gusts could top 45 mph. Thankfully the winds will gradually relax Friday night and Saturday, although they won't completely calm until Saturday night leading to a better feeling, but still cool day on Sunday.