|Rough country like this can cause big wind problems|
|Effects heating from the sun has on slope winds|
|Warm, rising air. Upslope daytime heating|
|Evening downslope winds caused by cooling surface/air|
|Virga. This is an indicator of strond downdraft winds |
approaching. Photo by Chuck Doswell http://www.cdoswell.com/
Terrain can really effect the winds. Where canyons converge, winds from the two canyons can mix and swirl, causing an "eddy" effect. As winds hit a peak this eddy effect can also occur on the opposite side of the peak that is being hit by the wind. Bottom line: think of wind as you would water. If water hits an object it will move around it. Winds in a gap or canyon are a lot like a river that gets squeezed into a tighter area; the air will speed up as the water would. Wind will follow the path of least resistance as water would. As it passes through mountains, the landscape will cause winds to bend, curve up and over, strengthen through narrow areas, or be absorbed as it hits larger features head on. Vegetation will also effect wind, as stands of trees can absorb wind, and open areas can intensify it. It's a lot to keep in mind!
|A bull I called in during a fierce hail storm. This storm|
aided me to call in a lot of bulls that day!
Now this is all quick and dirty, and I encourage comments here if I need to explain further or clear things up. This is weather, and we all know things can change. Storm systems will blow all of this out of the water. The conditions I have mentioned about slope winds will generally apply to normal sunny days, void of storm or greater wind events. If a storm system is on the way it is quite normal around here to experience a strong southwest wind until the storm arrives, switching to out of the northwest after the front passes. These winds will over ride the slope winds. Thunderstorms produce strong gusts that will cancel out slope wind. Check your forecasts and try to understand them! If the weatherman isn't mentioning storms or strong winds these simple slope rules will help you greatly. As you go out and hunt keep a journal with you. Write down what your weather is doing each time you go into an area to scout that buck or bull. Write it down every time so you can establish patterns. What time of day does that wind shift occur? Where does the wind switch to? Does the wind effect what the animals do or where they go? People talk about patterning big game, and I find that weather is usually that driver to their patterns. As the weather changes, so can those patterns. Keep a log so you can learn and adjust! Go out and give it a try, and remember to check back in to let us know how it's going!