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Are Equivalent Hurricane Irma Winds Worse Than Wyoming Winds?

Damaging Winds And Heavy Rain Hit Sydney
Getty Images, Brendon Thorne

Emergency officials in Florida said they would not respond to 911 calls if Hurricane Irma winds reached 45 mph. That might sound surprising to someone from Wyoming.

Wyoming winds at 45 mph just means it’s fall, or winter, or spring.

Are Floridians just a bunch of wimps?

A quick call to Don Day of confirmed that there is actually a scientific reason why Florida has a tougher time with winds than Wyoming.

Air pressure and density. “There are a lot more air molecules at sea level then there are here in Cheyenne, which is just above 6,000 feet,” Don Day explained. “That is one reason Florida seems so much hotter when you are down there. So a 45 mph wind feels a lot worse when you are being hit by more molecules.”

Add the normal air pressure of sea level to the pressure that a hurricane provides and a 45 mph wind can do a lot more damage in Florida then it can in Wyoming.

An ambulance screaming down the road in Wyoming can easily handle a heavy cross wind with no more than a little rocking around as the white knuckled driver tries to keep it between the lines.

In Florida, that same wind speed would be pushing far more air pressure and that might just run the ambulance off the road.

Well, there you go, Now you can say you learned something today.

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