Weather Blog

Great place to find current wind reports

Great place to find current wind reports

Here are some good places to find current wind reports:
* 520 Bridge
* Washington State Ferries
National Weather Service list of current observations

That NWS site is a mix of official FAA sites and smaller professional sites.

But this site from the UW is what I consider the Holy Grail.

There's a link at the top of the page that gives what the station codes represent. Column "SP" is sustained speed, "GS" is gust. But on some, if you look over to the right in the comments field, there's a "PK WND" designation, which is the highest gust reported in the hour.

It's given as a few numbers, like: "PK WND 13041/2103".  The 130 is the wind direction on the compass (so, a southeast wind), the 41 is the speed in knots, and 2103 is the time recorded in UTC, which is 8 hours ahead of PST. 

So in this case above, they had a peak hourly gust of 41 knots from 130 degrees at 1:03 p.m.  To convert knots to mph, multiply knots by 1.15. (so, 47 mph.)

Finally, if you look in the URL, there's a "what=0" at the end. You can change that '0' to a number to get past hours -- i.e., if you change the 0 to a 1, you'll get the observations from one hour back. '2' is two hours, etc.

I know that's a bit convuluted but it is the best source I know of to get the peak gusts for cities that encompass the entire hour, not just at observation time. Many times you'll miss some higher gusts that aren't reported in the standard hourly observation, and the comment field in observations is largely ignored on many main stream web sites that report current conditions.