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Wind Direction

Wind Direction

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I have noticed KSL and the weather channel report wind direction differently. Some reports tell the direction the wind is coming from, while other reports tell the direction the wind is headed. Why is there no consistency?

Jeff P.


Wind is reported by the direction from which it is coming from. So if the wind is "East at 10 mph", the wind is blowing from the east at 10 mph. If someone is not reporting it this way then they are either half asleep or perhaps they need to go back to school.

Now, we do use degrees like those on a circle. Where 360 or 0 would be a north wind. 90 is an east wind, 180 is south and 270 is west. So sometimes you see wind directions as 180 at 10 mph or 15 KTS or something. That's totally ok too. We use knots sometimes but typically on a broadcast you would see mph, the more common unit for wind.

Knowing where the wind is coming from is more useful than where the wind is going to. It's 'from' direction tells us what kind of boundary we are dealing with and also can help us with simple questions like: Why is it so cold? Well, when you have a north wind, it's not warm, just look where it comes from!

We also have wind switching a lot during the day in Salt Lake and in many Utah locations. This would be the land, lake and just daytime heating interaction.

I have no idea who you have seen making this awful mistake but I can assure you, it wasn't me! :)

Answered by KSL Meteorologist Dina Freedman.

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