How to Measure Wind Speed

Measuring wind speed is important in weather forecasting, and in particular the forecasting of hurricanes and tornadoes. The Beaufort scale is used to illustrate the speed of wind at any particular time in terms of knots.

  1. Use a weather vane. This is a device that measures the direction and speed of wind. If you install a weather vane at the top of a building, it will point in the direction away from where the wind is coming from and will spin around based on how hard the wind is traveling. The faster the vane spins around, the stronger the wind is said to be.

  2. Buy a modern anemometer. This is a device that works similarly to a weather vane, except with a heated wire. When the wind gathers strength, the wire becomes hotter. The temperature of the wire then tells the electronic device how strong the wind is traveling.

  3. Look at your local Doppler radar. The National Weather Service uses a Doppler radar to inspect the air velocity and the doppler shift. This tells viewers how fast the wind is blowing.

  4. Lick a finger and stick it in the air in the direction the wind is coming from. Golfers, football kickers and other sports professionals use this technique to determine the wind speed. The more quickly your finger dries, the harder the wind is blowing.

  5. Watch how hard flags are blowing. When flags are barely moving, the wind is virtually nonexistent. When flags are completely erect and firm, the wind is blowing hard.