WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

How to Read Wind Direction

Posted January 31, 2007
Updated November 2

How to Understand Wind Direction

Mike Moss: The term "wind direction" is defined as the compass heading FROM which the wind is blowing. This is in contrast to the term "bearing," which indicates the direction toward which an object is moving. The result is that an east wind, for example, would cause a balloon to follow a westerly bearing, and regarding your specific example Wind: S 5-10 mph would indicate a wind blowing at 5-10 mph from the south, also referred to as a "southerly" wind. These are the accepted definitions by general agreement in the meteorological and aviation communities.

Full Question from Brett: I'm not sure how to interpret the wind directions posted on the website. For example, does "Wind: S" mean the wind is blowing from the south, or to the south (i.e., from the north)?

More Information: Wind direction, wind bearing, southerly, northerly wind

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