I wrote an article for you on how to tell wind speed by looking at a wind sock. Those red and white stripes have meaning. But  you're not always going to be around a windsock. So, today let's make this a little more practical.

I'm proud to say that there in Wyoming there are plenty of flags flying. There is also plenty of wind. If you know what you are seeing you can get a basic idea of wind speed and gust factor by watching what the flag is doing.

There are two ways that you can use a flag to find the wind speed.

The easiest way is to just look at the flag and get a rough idea of the wind by using these simple steps.

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Not moving, wind calm. Well - DUH!
Give that flag just a little lift in the breeze and you can figure below 11 mph.
A light flap means the wind speed is between 12 to 18 mph.
If the flag is waving over the entire length, the speed is about 19 to 24 mph.
Out and  flapping fast, the wind speed is 25 to 31 mph.
Stretched out flapping hard, the wind speed is 32 to 37 mph.
Faster than that can be determined by how straight and snappy the tip is.

If the flag is fraying and ripping apart in the wind, you're in Wyoming.

For gust factor, let's say you see the flag gently flapping but now and then it snaps out for a moment then goes back to flapping. Figure sustained winds of 12-18 with a gust factor up to 24.

Now, let's get a little more technical. If you hate math DO NOT read this next part.

Is the flag on a tall flag poll?

What angle is the flag compared to the poll?
90° 90 / 4 = 22.5 mph
80° 80 / 4 = 20.0 mph
70° 70 / 4 = 17.5 mph
60° 60 / 4 = 15.0 mph
50° 50 / 4 = 12.5 mph
40° 40 / 4 = 10.0 mph
30° 30 / 4 = 7.0 mph
20° 20 / 4 = 5.0 mph
10° 10 / 4 = 6.25 mph
0° 0 / 4 = 0.0 mph (CALM)

 

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