How Windy Is It? (Clever Ways To Tell)
It's windy enough to comment out loud about how windy it is. But, how windy is it?
Let's put aside for a moment the fact that you can just check the weather app on your phone. If you were to look around you at the signs, could you estimate the wind speed and be pretty close to the mark?
Here are several clever and fun ways that you can:
1). The toilet bowl water is moving when no one is using it. Wind speed, at least 25 mph (not kidding). Check your house for a pipe that runs up and out to the roof. It's called a “vent stack.” It allows sewage gases to vent outside instead of through the toilet, sink, or tub, allowing the stink to escape. The stack also allows air to move through the pipes, which makes wastewater drain smooth. That is why your toilet water sloshes when it gets windy enough.
2). Count the stripes on a wind sock. Each stripe denotes a different level of wind speed. Not all wind socks have stripes, but once you look at one that does you can estimate all wind socks from then on.
First stripe - 3-knot breeze
Second stripe - 6 knot wind
Third - 9 knot wind
Fourth - 12 knots
Fifth - 15 knots or stronger wind
3). Tail wind while driving? Slow down and stick your hand out the window. I did this once when I passed a highway sign that said winds were 40 mph. I slowed down to that speed, lowered the window, stuck my hand out. The air felt still. I must have been getting great gas mileage.
4). Is that small airplane not moving - or flying backwards? (NOT KIDDING). Some pilots like to have fun doing this on windy days. Keep in mind, these are "winds aloft," or the winds up where he is, which can be very different from down where you are. On a windy day, a Cessna 172 will drop full flaps and lower his speed to 45 knots - (51 mph). He points the plane into the wind. If the wind is the same speed, he is not moving. If the wind is faster, then he is actually going backwards. Here is a video of a pilot having fun with this. That annoying squealing is the "stall warning horn" telling him that his wings are close to loosing lift.
5) Wind on face, leaves rustling: 4-7 mph.
6). Leaves rustling, twigs rocking, light flags extended: 8-12 mph.
7). Dust rising, paper moves: 13 - 18.
8). Branches sway: 19-24 mph.
9). Whole tree in motion: 32-38 mph.