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|The Beaufort wind scale is a system used to estimate and report wind speeds when no measuring apparatus is available. It was invented in the early 19th Century by Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort of the British Navy as a way to interpret winds from conditions at sea. Since that time, the scale has been modernized for effects on land. |
Beaufort Force 0 - Wind less than 1 kt, Calm, Sea surface smooth and mirror-like. Smoke rises vertically.
Beaufort Force 1 - Wind 1-3 kt, Light Air, Scaly ripples, no foam crests. Smoke drift indicates wind direction, still wind vanes.
Beaufort Force 2 - Wind 4-6 kt, Light Breeze, Small wavelets, crests glassy, no breaking waves. Wind felt on face, leaves rustle, vanes begin to move.
Beaufort Force 3 - Wind 7-10 kt, Gentle Breeze, Large wavelets, crests begin to break, scattered whitecaps. Leaves and small twigs constantly moving, light flags extended.
Beaufort Force 4 - Winds 11-16 kt, Moderate Breeze, Small waves 1 -4 ft. becoming longer, numerous whitecaps. Dust, leaves, and loose paper lifted, small tree branches move.
Beaufort Force 5 - Winds 17-21 kt, Fresh Breeze, Moderate waves 4 -8 ft taking longer form, many whitecaps, some spray. Small trees in leaf begin to sway.
Beaufort Force 6 - Winds 22-27 kt, Strong Breeze, Larger waves 8 -13 ft, whitecaps common, more spray. Larger tree branches moving, whistling in wires.
Beaufort Force 7 - Winds 28-33 kt, Near Gale, Sea heaps up, waves 13 -20 ft, white foam streaks off breakers. Whole trees moving, resistance felt walking against wind.
Beaufort Force 8 - Winds 34-40 kt Gale, Moderately high (13 -20 ft) waves of greater length, edges of crests begin to break into spindrift, foam blown in streaks. Whole trees in motion, resistance felt walking against wind.
Beaufort Force 9 - Winds 41-47 kt, Strong Gale, High waves (20 ft), sea begins to roll, dense streaks of foam, spray may reduce visibility. Slight structural damage occurs, slate blows off roofs.
Beaufort Force 10 - Winds 48-55 kt, Storm, Very high waves (20 -30 ft) with overhanging crests, sea white densely blown foam, heavy rolling, lowered visibility. Seldom experienced on land, trees broken or uprooted, "considerable structural damage".
Beaufort Force 11 - Winds 56-63 kt, Violent Storm, Exceptionally high (30 -45 ft) waves, foam patches cover sea, visibility more reduced.
Beaufort Force 12 -Winds 64+ kt, Hurricane, Air filled with foam, waves over 45 ft, sea completely white with driving spray, visibility greatly reduced.
|source: NOAA National Weather Service Glossary|