But—why? Why is it so windy?
(There’s an entire Facebook page devoted to that question, with more than 3,000 fans of the answer: “Because Arizona blows and Texas sucks.”)
In search of a slightly less snarky truth, SFR called Ken Widelski, a technician from the National Weather Service’s Albuquerque office.
Basically, Widelski says, it’s just a pressure difference. Low pressure at low altitudes actually does suck, drawing down strong, higher-pressure winds in the jet stream.
Santa Fe spent most of May 10-11 in a wind advisory, with the attendant breakneck tumbleweeds, clouds of dust and fire danger. Still, our winds blow mostly straight: According to the National Weather Service, only 1.75 tornadoes have touched down in Santa Fe County since 1950 and, anyway, Widelski says tornadoes and plain old wind are “two totally different things.” Tornadoes need convection and instability, he says, while wind comes from a simple difference in air pressure that’s “more large-scale than a localized tornado event.”
So, no need for sparkly red shoes just yet. Leave the tin man at home, too: New Mexico has more lightning deaths per capita than any other state.