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Is There More Wind Than There Used To Be?

By on February 27, 2017 in Home Construction

As a home inspector, I am always looking at the exterior of the home with regards to how the home has weathered over the years since being constructed and whether the exterior shell is providing the proper protection for the interior elements.

My wife hasn’t noticed any difference, but living where we do on top of a small mountain (the top of my driveway is 978 feet above sea level and we are located at the base of a valley)., I have certainly noticed over the six years since we have been here that it has gotten noticeably windier.

In fact, two years ago, a strong gust of wind ripped part of my cedar siding off our house and propelled a piece of the siding through the rear window of my brand new car like a spear. I had to argue with my insurance company about paying the claim on my car – but that’s another story.

So when I decided to do this blog, imagine my surprise when I Googled this topic and hundreds of pages came up.

The bottom line is, it has been scientifically proven that it is indeed windier than it used to be. According to National Geographic, it is 5% windier than it used to be. And during storms, the winds are 10% stronger.

Another study in the United Kingdom found that there were 20 less calm days in 2015 than in all previous years. A calm day is defined as one when at least 20 weather stations record maximum wind gusts of 11mph or less.

Wind is apparently driven by contrasts between high and low pressure. The greater the difference in air pressure over a given distance, the faster the wind blows.

The information was gathered through satellites orbiting high above and a network of altimeters located around the world and then compiled by climate scientists.

Most of these scientists believe that the impact of higher winds will start to impact how we design cities and structures moving forward.

So I have to wonder as a home inspector, what the future holds for housing designs and materials that need to withstand higher sustained winds?