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John Wheeler: Wind reports and forecasts are expressed in ranges

A wind report is measured by an anemometer at a location free of obstructions at 10 meters (about 33 feet) above the ground.

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FARGO — Wind is usually forecast as a range. Examples might include northwest at 5-15 mph or south-southeast at 15-25 mph. These ranges are really meant to be a generalized range of what the wind speed will be for much of the time during the forecast period. It is not meant to convey the absolute range. Wind is too variable an element to make an absolute range useful to most forecast users.

A National Weather Service wind report is measured by an anemometer at a location free of obstructions at 10 meters (about 33 feet) above the ground. This height gets above much of the local ground turbulence. The wind speed and direction reported are actually a two-minute average and not a representation of a specific point in time. A wind gust is reported if, during those two minutes, there is a variance of at least 10 mph at a speed of at least 18 mph.

Related Topics: WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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