Ask Ellen: What’s the least windy state?

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) —
Here are the least windy states in the nation according to a study by AWS Truepower.

1.  Mississippi
2.  Florida
3.  Kentucky
4.  Georgia
5.  Alabama

The long answer as to why the least windy states are all in the southeast begins with a kind of depressing story about the “Horse Latitudes.” The Horse Latitudes are located at 30° north and south. Winds are very weak here.

Legend has it that ships sailing to the new world would roll into these zones and immediately get hit by the doldrums. Sunny, dry, and windless weather would plague them for days, bringing their journey to a standstill. Crews would begin running low on food and water, so in an effort to make their ships lighter, sailors would dump anything they didn’t need overboard — including their horses.

The science behind the Horse Latitudes has to do with the wind belts on Earth. Located at 30° north and south are a bunch of semipermanent high pressure areas. We have one sitting off the east coast called the Bermuda High. High pressure areas usually bring sunny, dry weather and very light winds.

Frequently (especially in summer), our Bermuda High will flex and overtake the weather in the Southeast US, dropping those winds.

The five windiest states are all in the Plains:

1.  Nebraska
2.  Kansas
3.  South Dakota
4.  North Dakota
5.  Iowa

Air sweeping down the Rocky Mountains compresses, warms and speeds up. Another reason for the wind on the Plains is high has to do with strengthening storm systems. Low pressure areas moving over the Rockies are stretched, which intensifies them and allows them to generate faster wind.

Plan your vacations accordingly.

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