NAMES OF THE WIND


  • Abroholos: a squall frequent from May through August between Cabo de Sao Tome and Cabo Frio on the coast of Brazil.

  • Aejej in Morocco: a whirlwind in the desert.

  • Aeolus: regent of the winds in Greek mythology.

  • Air: Earth's atmosphere is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth and retained by the Earth's gravity. It contains roughly 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.97% argon, 0.04% carbon dioxide, and trace amounts of other gases, in addition to water vapor. This mixture of gases is commonly known as air. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation and reducing temperature extremes between day and night.

  • Anabatic: from the Greek anabatos, verbal of anabainein meaning moving upward, this is a wind which blows up a steep slope or mountain side. It is also known as an upslope flow. These winds typically occur during the daytime in calm sunny weather. A hill or mountain top will be radiatively warmed by the Sun which in turn heats the air just above it

  • Anticyclone: air spinning outward from centers of high air pressure; flowing clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.

  • Aquilo in ancient Rome: a northwesterly wind.

  • Auster: the Latin version of Notus.

  • Austru: a east or southeast wind in Rumania. They are cold in winter and may be a local name for a foehn wind.

  • Bad-I-Sad-O-Bist-Roz: in Afghanistan, a hot and dry northwesterly wind from June to September.

  • Bali wind: a strong east wind at the eastern end of Java.

  • Barat: a heavy northwest squall in Manado Bay on the north coast of the island of Celebes, prevalent from December to February.

  • Barber: a strong wind carrying damp snow or sleet and spray that freezes upon contact with objects, especially the beard and hair.

  • Bayamo: aviolent wind blowing from the land on the south coast of Cuba, especially near the Bight of Bayamo.

  • Bentu de Soli: an east wind on the coast of Sardinia.

  • Blue Norther: a weather phenomenon common to large areas of the world's temperate zones–a rapidly moving autumnal cold front that causes temperatures to drop quickly and that often brings with it precipitation followed by a period of blue skies and cold weather.

  • Bora: a cold wind that blows from the north or northeast across the lands around the Adriatic Sea (named after Boreas).

  • Borasco: a thunderstorm or violent squall, especially in the Mediterranean.

  • Boreas: the "North Wind" in Greek mythology.

  • Breeze: the light horizontal movement of air (as opposed to an air current) caused by uneven heating of the Earth's surface.

  • Brickfielder: a wind from the desert in Southern Australia. Precedes the passage of a frontal zone of a low passing by. Has the same dusty character as the Harmattan.

  • Brisa, Briza: 1. A northeast wind which blows on the coast of South America or an east wind which blows on Puerto Rico during the trade wind season. 2. The northeast monsoon in the Philippines.

  • Brisote: the northeast trade wind when it is blowing stronger than usual on Cuba.

  • Brubu: a name for a squall in the East Indies.

  • Bull's Eye Squall: a squall forming in fair weather, characteristic of the ocean off the coast of South Africa. It is named for the peculiar appearance of the small isolated cloud marking the top of the invisible vortex of the storm.

  • Canterbury northwester: wind rushing out of the New Zealand Alps across the Canterbury Plan.

  • Cape Doctor: the strong southeast wind which blows on the South African coast.

  • Carabinera in Spain: a squall.

  • Caver, Kaver: a gentle breeze in the Hebrides.

  • Chinook: a foehn, originating with moist wind from the Pacific Ocean, that releases its moisture as precipitation over the Rocky Mountains, the air is then compressed and heated as it descends over the frozen plains of the northwestern United States and Canada, often removing several inches of snow by sublimation in a matter of hours, thus leading some people to refer to them as "snow eaters" [Sometimes, the wet southwest winds that blow along the coasts of Oregon and Washington are also referred to as chinooks because of their warmth.]

  • Cat's Paw in US: a breeze just strong enough to ripple a water surface.

  • Chi'ing Fung in China: a gentle breeze.

  • Chocolatero On Mexico's Gulf Coast: hot sandy squall colored brown by dust.

  • Chubasco: a violent squall with thunder and lightning, encountered during the rainy season along the west coast of Central America.

  • Churada: a severe rain squall in the Mariana Islands during the northeast monsoon. They occur from November to April or May, especially from January through March.

  • Cierzo: See MISTRAL.

  • Cock-eyed-Bobs: old timers on the Australian west coast often used the colourful name Cock-Eyed Bob to refer to severe tropical cyclones.

  • Coho: cold, heavy air spills off the plateaus of Greenland and Antarctica toward the coasts. Cape Denison on the Antarctic coast has the greatest average wind speeds on Earth, primarily because these fall winds average 50 m.p.h.

  • Contrastes Winds: a short distance apart blowing from opposite quadrants, frequent in the spring and fall in the western Mediterranean.

  • Cordonazo ~~ The "Lash of St. Francis.": name applied locally to southerly hurricane winds along the west coast of Mexico. It is associated with tropical cyclones in the southeastern North Pacific Ocean. These storms may occur from May to November, but ordinarily affect the coastal areas most severely near or after the Feast of St. Francis, October 4.

  • Coromell: night land breeze prevailing from November to May at La Paz, near the southern extremity of the Gulf of California.

  • Crivetz in Romania: cold northeasterly blizzard wind.

  • Current: any continuous, directed movement of air.

  • Cyclone ~~ "coiled snake": air spinning in toward centers of low air pressure; flowing counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.

  • Descuernacabras ~~ "wind that de-horns goats":

  • Diablo: Northern California version of Santa Ana winds. These winds occur below canyons in the East Bay hills (Diablo range) and in extreme cases can exceed 60 mph. They develop due to high pressure over Nevada and lower pressure along the central California coast.

  • Doldrums: a narrow, virtually windless zone (which moves slightly north or south with the seasons) that occurs near the Equator as heated air rises upward, leaving the ocean surface calm and glassy.

  • Downdraft: the vertical movement of air.

  • Dust devil: a rotating updraft, ranging from small (half a meter wide and a few meters tall) to large (over 10 meters wide and over 1000 meters tall). In the southwestern United States, dust devils can be known as dancing devils. In Death Valley, California, they may be called a sand auger or dust whirl.

  • Elephanta On India's Malabar Coast: southerly gale marking the end of the wet season.

  • Etesian: a refreshing northerly summer wind of the Mediterranean, especially over the Aegean Sea.

  • Euros in ancient Greece: sultry: wet wind from the east.

  • Eurus: the "East Wind" in Greek mythology (the same term is used in Latin).

  • Favonius: the Latin version of Zephyr.

  • Foehn: any warm, dry wind that blows down the leeward side of a mountain range; particularly the hot, dry winds that move down from snow-clad mountains to roar through Alpine valleys, typically in autumn and late winter.

  • Fremantle Doctor: a cooling seabreeze in Western Australia,often made note of during hot summer-time cricket matches.

  • Friagem: like a North American norther, but blowing northward from the South Pole in South America.

  • Gale: can be classified as: moderate, near, fresh, strong, or whole (see Beaufort Numbers 7 through 10 on the Beaufort Scale).

  • Gregale: a strong northeast wind of the central Mediterranean.

  • Gust: a strong current of air.

  • Haboob in Sudan: a dust storm followed by rain. From the Arabic habb: "To blow".

  • Haizebeltza: or "black wind" of the Basque which bears dark clouds off the north slopes of the western Pyrenees.

  • Harmattan: a very hot wind, with dangerous cross-currents, that blows southwest from central Africa and across the Sudan, typically December through February, preceded by the smokes (i.e., clouds of stinging, red dust).

  • Hayate in Japan: a gale.

  • Helm wind: a wind that blows down the slopes of smaller, smoother hills (as opposed to a foehn); common in the British Isles.

  • Hurricane: a severe tropical cyclone usually with heavy rains and winds moving a 73-136 knots (12 on the Beaufort scale)

  • Jet stream: bands of rapidly moving air, normally 290 to 480 kilometers (180 to 300 miles) wide and up to three kilometers thick, that travel above the earth at altitudes of 9000 to 13,600 meters (30,000 to 45,000 feet) and at speeds that average between 100 and 180 kilometers (60 and 115 miles) per hour, but which have been recorded exceeding 460 kilometers per hour.

  • Katabatic: from the Greek word katabatikos meaning "going downhill", this is a wind that blows down a topographic incline such as a hill, mountain, or glacier. Such winds, particularly when they occur over a wide area, are sometimes called fall winds. Californians refer to their great katabatic wind as the Mono wind.

  • Kohilo in Hawaii: a gentle breeze.

  • Kolawaik in Argentina: southerly wind of the Gran Chaco.

  • Kubang in Java: a chinook.

  • Kadja in Bali: a steady breeze off the sea.

  • Khamsin: a hot, dry wind that blows from the Sahara Desert to Egypt for about fifty days each spring; called "rih al khamsin" (the wind of fifty days) by Egyptians.

  • Knik Wind: a strong southeast wind in the vicinity of Palmer, Alaska, most frequent in the winter.

  • Kona Storm: a storm over the Hawaiian Islands, characterized by strong southerly or southwesterly winds and heavy rains.

  • Laawan: a west wind of Arabia.

  • Landlash in Scotland: a gale.

  • Levanter: blows through the Straits of Gibraltar, funneled through the gap between the high plateau of Spain and the Atlas Mountains of North Africa.

  • Leste: a hot, dry, easterly wind of the Madeira and Canary Islands.

  • Levantera: a persistent east wind of the Adriatic, usually accompanied by cloudy weather.

  • Levanto: a hot southeasterly wind which blows over the Canary Islands.

  • Leveche: a warm wind in Spain, either a foehn or a hot southerly wind in advance of a low pressure area moving from the Sahara Desert. Called a SIROCCO in other parts of the Mediterranean area.

  • Maestro: a northwesterly wind with fine weather which blows, especially in summer, in the Adriatic. It is most frequent on the western shore. This wind is also found on the coasts of Corsica and Sardinia.

  • Mamatele in Malta: a hot northwesterly wind.

  • Maria: a fictional wind popularized in "Paint Your Wagon" (Lerner and Lowe, 1951) and by the Kingston Trio (1959), whose name may have originated with the 1941 book "Storm" by George R. Stewart.

  • Matacabras ~~ "wind that kills goats": North wind in Spain.

  • Matanuska Wind: a strong, gusty, northeast wind which occasionally occurs during the winter in the vicinity of Palmer, Alaska.

  • Mato Wamniyomi Native American (Dakota): a whirlwind: dust devil or tornado.

  • Melteme ~~ "the bad tempered one": Northerly wind in the Aegean.

  • Mistral: a penetrating, stormy, dry and cold wind that blows through the Rhone Valley of France toward the Mediterranean coast.

  • Moazagoatl: the local name for a foehn type wind in the Sudeten Mountains. It is marked by a lee wave rotor, a stationary bank of cirriform cloud marking the upper portion of the system of lenticular clouds formed in the lee wave produced by flow across the Sudeten Mountains in southeastern Germany. The Moazagotl reaches its maximum development in the colder

  • Moncao in Portugal: a northeasterly trade wind.

  • Mono: see Katabatic

  • Monsoon: any seasonal wind that blows toward a continent in summer and away from it in winter; perhaps the most famous of which occur in India.

  • Nashi, N'aschi: a northeast wind which occurs in winter on the Iranian coast of the Persian Gulf, especially near the entrance to the gulf, and also on the Makran coast. It is probably associated with an outflow from the central Asiatic anticyclone which extends over the high land of Iran. It is similar in character but less severe than the BORA.

  • Norte: a strong cold northeasterly wind which blows in Mexico and on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. It results from an outbreak of cold air from the north. It is the Mexican extension of a norther.

  • Northeaster, nor'easter: a strong wind blowing across New England from the northeast, typically bringing gales and wet weather. "Northeasters" can also blow across the Great Lakes.

  • Norther: a winter wind that sweeps across the southern Uniteds States and then out over the Gulf of Mexico; it can start in Canada and eventually cover the entire Mississippi Valley.

  • Nor'wester: this is a very warm wind which can blow for days on end in the province of Canterbury New Zealand. The effect is especially felt in the city of Christchurch. The wind comes in from the Tasman Sea, drys as it rises over the Southern Alps, heats as it decends, crosses the Canterbury Plains, then blows through Christchurch.

  • Notus: the "South Wind" in Greek mythology.

  • Pali: a local name for strong winds which blow through the Pali Pass above Honolulu, HI.

  • Pampero: a west or southwest wind in Southern Argentina. This wind (often violently) picks up during the passage of a cold front of an active low passing by.

  • Papagayos in Costa Rica: a cool wind from the north.

  • Pittarak in Greenland: a wind from the northwest.

  • Polar night jets: an intermittent form of jet stream that occurs above the earth's poles during the dark winter months.

  • Prevailing westerlies: prevailing winds that blow from the west and occur between 30 and 60 degrees from the Equator.

  • Puelche: an easterly foehn blowing off the Andes of South America.

  • Quexalcoatl From the Aztecs: a wind from the west.

  • Reverse jet stream: an intermittent, east-to-west flowing form of jet stream that forms during the summer at the tropopause over the Indian Ocean and Africa.

  • Roaring forties: the name applied, especially by sailors, to the latitudes between 40 degrees S and 50 degees S, where the prevailing westerly winds are strong and steady. Unlike the winds in the Northern Hemisphere, those in the roaring forties are not impeded by large land areas.

  • Samiel in Turkey: a hot: dry wind.

  • Santa Ana: a California style chinook. (warm or hot dry downslope winds)

  • Shamal: a summer northwesterly wind blowing over Iraq and the Persian Gulf, often strong during the day, but decreasing at night.

  • Sharav: a scorchingly hot, dry desert wind which blows from the Arabian Desert from May to mid-June and from September to October. Aka Khamsin.

  • Sharki: a southeasterly wind which sometimes blows in the Persian Gulf.

  • Shawondasee Native American (Algonquin): "lazy wind:" from the south in the late summer.

  • Simoom: the searing "poison wind" of Arabia, which roars across the parched desert.

  • Sirocco in Northern Africa: the blistering winds of the Sahara, which can blow dust, grit, and sand all the way from northern Africa across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

  • Solar wind: a solar wind is a stream of charged particles (i.e., a plasma) which are ejected from the upper atmosphere of a star. When originating from stars other than the Earth's Sun, it is sometimes called a stellar wind.

  • Squall: a sudden storm of wind, typically accompanied by rain or snow or sleet.

  • Squamish: a strong and often violent wind occurring in many of the fjords of British Columbia. Squamishes occur in those fjords oriented in a northeast-southwest or east-west direction where cold polar air can be funneled westward. They are notable in Jervis, Toba, and Bute inlets and in Dean Channel and Portland Canal. Squamishes lose their strength when free of the confining fjords and are not noticeable 15 to 20 miles offshore.

  • Stellar Wind: see Solar Wind.

  • Suestado: a storm with southeast gales, caused by intense cyclonic activity off the coasts of Argentina and Uruguay, which affects the southern part of the coast of Brazil in the winter.

  • Sukhovey in Mongolia: a warm: easterly dust storm wind in the Gobi Desert.

  • Sumatra: a squall with violent thunder, lightning, and rain, which blows at night in the Malacca Straits, especially during the southwest monsoon. It is intensified by strong mountain breezes.

  • Sundowner: warm downslope winds that periodically occur along a short segment of the Southern California coast in the vicinity of Santa Barbara. The name refers to their typical onset (on the populated coastal plain) in the late afternoon or early evening, though they can occur at any time of the day. In extreme cases, wind speeds can be of gale force or higher, and temperatures over the coastal plain and even at the coast itself can rise significantly above 37.8 degrees C (100 degrees F).

  • Taku Wind: a strong, gusty, east-northeast wind, occurring in the vicinity of Juneau, Alaska, between October and March. At the mouth of the Taku River, after which it is named, it sometimes attains hurricane force.

  • Tatsumaki: Japanese hurricane.

  • Tebbad: the "fever wind" of Turkestan.

  • Tehuantepecer: a violent squally wind from north or north-northeast in the Gulf of Tehuantepec (south of southern Mexico) in winter. It originates in the Gulf of Mexico as a norther which crosses the isthmus and blows through the gap between the Mexican and Guatamalan mountains. It may be felt up to 100 miles out to sea.

  • Thermal: a rising parcel of warm air.

  • Tokalau in Figi: a wind from the northeast.

  • Tornado: a localized and violently destructive windstorm occurring over land characterized by a funnel-shaped cloud extending toward the ground.

  • Trade winds: the northeasterlies, which girdle the Northern Hemisphere near the Equator (and the southeasterlies that do the same south of the Equator), provided earlier mariners with reliable winds to travel from Europe or Africa to the Americas; they derived their name from an archaic word meaning "course" or "track".

  • Tramontana: a northeasterly or northerly winter wind off the west coast of Italy. It is a fresh wind of the fine weather mistral type.

  • Twister: a localized and violently destructive windstorm occurring over land characterized by a funnel-shaped cloud extending toward the ground

  • Typhoon ~~ "a big wind": a severe tropical storm (i.e., winds >64 knots) in the Western Pacific. The word is believed to originate from the Chinese word "ty-fung".

  • Updraft: the vertical movement of air.

  • Vardar: a cold fall wind blowing from the northwest down the Vardar valley in Greece to the Gulf of Salonica. It occurs when atmospheric pressure over eastern Europe is higher than over the Aegean Sea, as is often the case in winter.

  • Vind-Blaer in Iceland: a breeze mentioned in Icelandic sagas.

  • Vind Gnyr in Ancient Iceland: a blustery thunderstorm downdraft; a squall.

  • Vortex: a powerful circular current of water (usually the resulting of conflicting tides)

  • Warm Braw: a foehn wind in the Schouten Islands north of New Guinea.

  • White Squall: a sudden, strong gust of wind coming up without warning, noted by whitecaps or white, broken water; usually seen in whirlwind form in clear weather in the tropics.

  • Whittle in England: a wind gust named when Captain Whittle's coffin was upset.

  • Williwaw: violent gusts of cold air that blow off the mountainous coasts into the oceans, as occurs in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska and the Straits of Magellan near the south end of South America.

  • Willy-willy: the name for a hurricane that occurs in the seas north of Australia.

  • Xlokk in Malta: a hot: dry wind.

  • Yamo in Ugandda: a "wind in a body" whirlwind. Zephyr in Italy: a mild breeze bringing pleasant weather.

  • Zephyr: the "West Wind" in Greek mythology.

  • Zephyros: the ancient Greek name for the west wind, which generally light and beneficial. It has evolved into "zephyr" which denotes a soft gentle breeze.

  • Zonda in Argentina: a chinook in the Andes Region. aka as Sondo.

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