Awhile ago, we bought a Kestrel wind monitor so we could start getting a feel for what various wind speeds feel like. Putting names to faces, so to speak. I was so disappointed the first couple of times I used it because, even though it seemed to me like it was blowing pretty darn hard (what I would have estimated as 20-25 knots), I couldn't get the wind gauge to read much over 12-13 knots except during the gusts when it might almost reach 20.
Yesterday we were predicted to get 30-35 knot winds with gusts to 50 (later amended to 60) knots. I checked the NWS site today. They have weather stations along the coast and one is about a mile from where we're moored. It's sitting on a sandy knoll above South Beach where the south jetty starts. So the weather there is going to be very similar to here although the weather station's wind speeds will probably be a bit higher. The weather station readings are recorded hourly and posted to the internet. So here's how yesterday shaped up:
What does it all mean? Well, it flat blew yesterday. Just before I went to bed, a gust came through and heeled the boat 10 degrees to port. And held her there for a few seconds. Probably would have heeled further but the mooring lines on the starboard side held her. This is in a protected (well, sort of) harbor. At times, as I was walking up the dock or across the parking lot, I had to stop and plant myself with both feet to keep from losing my footing. The boats in the marina were all dancing in their slips. Tarps were blown off. Canvas covers were unsnapped by the wind. I mean it blew! But look at the recorded wind speeds. Mostly in the mid-30s (as predicted). A few excursions over 40 knots but the highest gusts recorded were 50 and 52 knots. Since 1 knot = 1.15 mph, that's recorded gusts of 57.5 to 60 mph. A far cry from 90 mph.
So, big deal, what's my point? My point is, take your TV and Radio weather predictions with several grains of salt. They seem to cater to the portion of our brain that wants to be able to say we suffered. Think about it. When you're talking about the weather with your co-workers, don't you usually relate the report you heard that had the most dire prediction? When it's cold and 2 weathermen say it's going to get down to 20 and one says it's going to get down to 15, which one do you repeat? Same thing when it's hot. We're suffering from weather inflation and as a consequence, when I'm reading my sailing magazines and the writer talks about sailing in 15-20 knots of wind, I have the idea that this is just a gentle breeze. It's not. 15-20 knots is a fairly stout wind if my Kestrel is to be believed.