Wind speed 


sailboatWind is the natural flow of gases on a large scale. On earth the this means the movement of air. Wind is caused by differences in the atmospheric (or barometric ) pressure. When a difference in pressure exists, air moves from the higher to the lower pressure area, resulting in wind. Because of the rotation of the earth, air will also be deflected by the Coriolis effect, except exactly on the equator.

In our area, wind is also affected by sea breezes. The ocean is warmed by the sun more slowly because of water's greater specific heat compared to land. As the temperature of the land rises, the land heats the air above it by conduction. The warm air is less dense than the surrounding air, and so it rises. The cooler air above the sea flows inland, creating a cooler breeze near the coast. Sea breezes only occur when the prevailing winds are low and are usually more pronounced in our area during the winter months when the temperature of the Gulf of Mexico is relativity cold compared to the land. RECON reports wind speed in Miles per Hour (mph) or Meters per Second (m/s). 

The Beaufort wind force scale is an empirical measure that relates wind speed to observed conditions at sea or on land. It was developed in 1805 by Francis Beaufort. While not in common use today, the scale still provides a guide for determining wind speed from sea conditions.

The Beaufort Scale

Beaufort   Wind Speed   Wave
Number Description mph knots Sea Conditions Height (Ft)
0 Calm 0 0 Sea is like a mirror 0
1 Light Air 1-3 1- 3 Ripples with appearance of scales; no foam crests 0.25
2 Light Breeze 4-7 4 -6 Small wavelets; crests of glassy appearance, not breaking 0.5 - 1
3 Gentle Breeze 8-12 7 - 10 Large wavelets; crests begin to break; scattered whitecaps 2 - 3
4 Moderate Breeze 13-18 11 - 16 Small waves, becoming longer; numerous whitecaps 3.5 - 5
5 Fresh Breeze 19-24 17 - 21 Moderate waves, taking longer form; many whitecaps; some spray 6 -8
6 Strong Breeze 25-31 22 - 27 Larger waves forming; whitecaps everywhere; more spray 9.5 - 13
7 Near Gale 32-38 28 - 33 Sea heaps up; white foam from breaking waves begins to be blown in streaks 13.5 - 19
8 Fresh Gale 39-46  34 - 40 Moderately high waves of greater length; edges of crests begin to break into spindrift; foam is blown in well-marked streaks 18 - 25
9 Strong Gale 47-54 41 - 47 High waves; sea begins to roll; dense streaks of foam; spray may begin to reduce visibility 23 - 32
10 Storm 55-63 48 - 55 Very high waves with overhanging crests; sea takes white appearance as foam is blown in very dense streaks; rolling is heavy and visibility is reduced 29 -41
11 Violent Storm 64-72 56 - 63 Exceptionally high waves; sea covered with white foam patches; visibility further reduced 37 - 52
12 Hurricane 73+ 64+ Huge waves. Sea is completely white with foam and spray. Air is filled with driving spray, greatly reducing visibility. 45+

Disclaimer: Data presented on the RECON web site is provisional in nature and should not be used to make decisions that concern personal or public safety.