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Weather Talk: High winds less damaging to trees during the winter

Six months ago today, the Fargo-Moorhead region was getting pounded by one of the many ground blizzards that plagued us so frequently during the winter. 

The peak wind gust during the Jan. 16 storm measured at Hector International Airport was 60 mph. Such a wind gust would have qualified as a severe thunderstorm had it occurred during a thunderstorm instead of a blizzard. And although the 60 mph wind certainly reduced visibility greatly in blowing snow, it did little or no damage to trees in the area.  A 60 mph wind in a summer thunderstorm would not likely cause any major damage, but it would certainly break a great many tree branches. 

The difference is that summer tree branches are covered with leaves, which catch more wind than the bare trees of midwinter. Pine branches survive winter wind forces by being more flexible. 

Have a weather question you’d like answered? Email weather@wday.com,

or write to WDAY Stormtracker, WDAY-TV, Box 2466, Fargo, ND 58108

Read the blog at http://www.stormtrack.areavoices.com

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