Swell Matrix

How to read a wind barb

Those little sticks on a wind forecast- what are they?

They’re called wind barbs, and their shape tells you the direction the wind is coming from and how strong it is.

Wind barb explanation via wikimedia

The barb shows the wind the direction is going toward: the pointy end and the end with the “flags” are flowing with the wind like an arrow.

The number and shape of the flags show the strength. A half-size flag indicates 5 mph, a full-size flag 10 mph. These are combined and added up to give the wind strength. When the wind gets to 50 mph, a triangle is shown instead of 5 flags. On wind forecasts outside of Swell Matrix, the flags might indicate knots or kilometers per hour instead of miles per hour. Be sure to check the scale.

Check all our wind forecasts here!