What does it mean when a forecast indicates that winds will “freshen”?

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Dear Tom,

What does it mean when a forecast indicates that winds will “freshen”?

—Katrina/Jim Kuhn, Winfield

Dear Katrina and Jim,

When the term freshening is used in conjunction with wind means that the wind speed will significantly increase from a low value. The term is not used to describe further strengthening of winds that are already strong. The term fresh also shows up in the Beaufort wind scale to describe a range of specific wind speeds, as in fresh breeze for winds of 19-24 m.p.h. and fresh gale for speeds in the 39-46 m.p.h. range. Other terms used to describe the behavior of the wind include backing and veering. These terms reference a change of wind direction instead of speed. Backing refers to a counterclockwise change in wind direction, while veering winds swing around the compass in a clockwise fashion.

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