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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 <i>Defining the Wind</i>

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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