As spring continues and the threat for severe weather increases, you may hear a couple of different terms thrown around when the StormTracker 59 meteorologists reference wind, such as sustained wind and wind gust. The two are used quite a bit but have different meanings!

Sustained wind vs. wind gust

  • Sustained wind: This is the wind speed found by averaging multiple wind speed values that are observed over a period of time. This period of time can vary from just a couple of minutes to a few hours.
  • Wind gust: Big changes in the wind speed that occur instantaneously. The period of time that a wind gust cover is a few seconds to perhaps 30 seconds. As a result of wind gusts being a very short period of time and not an average of multiple wind speed values, this value will be higher than sustained wind speed values.

For example, a Wind Advisory is typically issued for most non-mountainous spots for sustained winds of 30-39 mph and/or wind gusts of 45 to 57 mph (notice that wind gusts are higher than sustained wind speed).