What comes to your mind when you’re thinking about the most interesting and spectacular weather phenomena? Is it tornado, avalanche or thunderstorm? It’s time to recollect a weather event that we see almost every day of our lives but seldom notice – wind. There is one more reason to talk about wind and its power now as National Big Wind Day is observed on April 12. Let’s start the windy journey!
Why April 12?
Big Wind Day has been celebrated in the USA every April 12 annually since April 12, 1934, when the highest wind velocity on Earth was recorded. The “biggest wind” of all times was measured on Mount Washington in New Hampshire (sometimes called Agiocochook by Native Americans); its speed reached 231 mph (103 m/s). Interestingly enough, this velocity of wind is the highest one recorded “by man” – satellites and radars are unable to measure wind speed directly at the surface of Earth. The story of the holiday itself remains clear, and it’s still unknown who decided to make April 12 National Big Wind Day.
History And Value of Wind Energy
- Airflow can be a light breeze or can turn into a powerful destructive tornado or hurricane. For many centuries, people have suffered from the consequences of violent typhoons, but several thousands of years ago they tamed the wind and turned it into their assistant. The first windmills appeared in 2000 B.C. in Persia and China; sailing ships started to use wind power more than 5,500 years ago; the first wind wheel used to power the machine was invented in Greece in the 1700 B.C.
- A windmill was first used to produce electricity in 1887 and it was only 10 meters (33 feet) high. Modern wind turbines are more than 120 meters (almost 400 feet) high and are able to produce 7,500 kW of electricity! Over the last few centuries wind has become our true friend that helps us produce lots of clean, cheap and renewable energy today. There are more than 250,000 wind turbines in the world now and they give us almost 5% of all the electricity we use. It’s also important that the cost of wind energy has been steadily declining – now we pay for it 90% less than we did in the 1980s.
7 Things You Didn’t Know About Wind Power
- The first house with electricity supplied by wind appeared in 1887 in Scotland.
- As of 2017, there are almost 50,000 wind turbines in the USA only.
- One wind turbine can give electricity to 500 homes today.
- The first wind turbines turned anticlockwise; since 1978 all of them turn clockwise.
- The majority of wind turbines (almost 99%) can be found on private lands today.
- Wind turbines use almost no water to function properly.
- Want to get a good job? Become a wind turbine technician – it’s the fastest growing profession in the USA today.
How to Celebrate?
Join millions of Americans and celebrate National Big Wind Day in the “windy” manner! We’ve prepared a few ideas for you and your kids that will help you see the power of wind and have a lot of fun at the same time:
- if you live in a windy area fly a kite together with your children or try other activities connected with the wind like windsurfing or sailing;
- arrange a Big Wind party and watch movies like “Gone with the Wind” or “The Wind Rises”;
- visit a meteorological center or an observatory to broaden your knowledge about winds and weather in general;
- if you notice some heavy things blown by the wind make a photo of them and share them with your friends in social media.
Have a great Big Wind Day!