How to Read a Wind Sock

Written by carrie perles Google
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How to Read a Wind Sock
Wind socks determine wind speed and direction. (wind sock and propeller image by Steve Mann from

Meteorologists use wind socks to determine the direction and strength of the wind. People commonly place wind socks near airports, seaports and on roads through the mountains where wind information is crucial yet difficult to determine because of the surrounding environment. You can easily learn to read a wind sock, although you will not be able to calculate the exact speed of the wind by looking at one.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Chalk
  • Compass

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  1. 1

    Draw a chalk arrow on the ground in the direction that the wind sock is pointing.

  2. 2

    Place the compass over the line to read which direction the arrow is pointing.

  3. 3

    Determine the opposite direction of the arrow. This is the direction that the wind is blowing from. For example, if the arrow is pointing northeast, the wind is blowing from the southwest.

  4. 4

    Look at the shape and movement of the wind sock. If the wind sock is flapping softly, the wind is blowing lightly. If it is stretching out straight, the wind is very strong.

Tips and warnings

  • For a more precise measurement of wind speed, use an anemometer instead of a wind sock. An anemometer spins around in the wind, and you can calculate the wind speed based on the number of revolutions that the anemometer makes.

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