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'Defining the Wind' and the Beaufort Scale

The cover of Scott Huler's <i>Defining the Wind</i>
The cover of Scott Huler's Defining the Wind

Writer Scott Huler talks about the "poetry" of the Beaufort wind scale and its inventor, Sir Francis Beaufort. Huler is the author of Defining the Wind: The Beaufort Scale, and How a 19th-Century Admiral Turned Science into Poetry.

Web Extra: The Complete Beaufort Scale

0 (calm): less than 1 mph; calm, smoke rises vertically

1 (light air): 1-3 mph; direction of wind shown by smoke but not by wind vanes

2 (light breeze): 4-7 mph; wind felt on face, leaves rustle, ordinary vane moved by wind

3 (gentle breeze): 8-12 mph; leaves and small twigs in constant motion, wind extends light flag

4 (moderate breeze): 13-18 mph; raises dust and loose paper, small branches are moved

5 (fresh breeze): 19-24 mph; small trees in leaf begin to sway, crested wavelets form on inland waters

6 (strong breeze): 25-31 mph; large branches in motion, telegraph wires whistle, umbrellas used with difficulty

7 (moderate gale or near gale): 32-38 mph; whole trees in motion, inconvenience in walking against the wind

8 (fresh gale or gale): 39-46 mph; breaks twigs off trees, generally impedes progress

9 (strong gale): 47-54 mph; slight structural damage occurs, chimney pots and slates removed

10 (whole gale or storm): 55-63 mph; trees uprooted, considerable structural damage occurs

11 (storm or violent storm): 64-72 mph; very rarely experienced, accompanied by widespread damage

12 (hurricane): 73-136 mph; devastation occurs

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