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Forecast Graphics Descriptions
Supported by the Northwest Modeling Consortium

Wind barbs

DEFINITION:

A graphical device used on weather maps to describe the intensity and direction of the wind at some specified location.

HOW TO READ A WIND BARB:

The barbs are comprised of a tail, consisting of lines and/or flags, and a bare point. The intensity of the wind is represented by the number of lines and/or flags on the tail. Each full line equals 10 knots (kts) and a smaller half-line is 5 kts. A flag (triangle) is equal to 50 kts. Every item should be added together to determine the magnitude of the wind. A circle represents calm conditions.

The wind direction is determined by the orientation of the barb on a 360 degree compass-like circle. Wind blows FROM the tail to the bare point. SEE THE GRAPHICS BELOW FOR A VISUAL DEPICTION.