When we report the wind for Fargo or any other weather station around the region, what we are reporting is actually an average wind over a two-minute period at the instrument site. For Fargo, the site is just off the main runway at Hector International Airport.

When there is a gust of at least 10 mph more than the two-minute average, it is reported as a gust. Wind is measured "officially" in an open area 10 meters, or about 33 feet, above the ground. At this high level, the wind is less affected by terrain and localized turbulence.

It makes for a less messy observation and it is easier to compare wind at different locations, but the actual wind we experience at face-level is actually quite different than the official wind reported. At 6 feet, the wind is generally lighter but gustier than that observed at 33 feet.