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BEAUFORT WIND FORCE SCALE:


Specifications and equivalent speeds for use at sea

FORCE

Equivalent

Speed

Wave

Height

Description

Map

U.S. Advisory

SPECIFICATIONS FOR
USE AT SEA

miles/hr

knots

m

ft


Symbols

Flags


0

0-1

0-1

0

0

Calm




Sea like a mirror

1

1-3

1-3

.1

.33

Light Air




Ripples with the
appearance of scales
are formed, but
without foam crests.

2

4-7

4-6

.2

.66

Light Breeze




Small wavelets, still
short, but more
pronounced. Crests
have a glassy
appearance and do not
break.

3

8-12

7-10

.6

2

Gentle Breeze




Large wavelets. Crests
begin to break. Foam
of glassy appearance.
Perhaps scattered
white horses.

4

13-18

11-16

1

3.3

Moderate Breeze




Small waves, becoming
larger; fairly frequent
white horses.

5

19-24

17-21

2

6.6

Fresh Breeze




Moderate waves,
taking a more
pronounced long form;
many white horses are
formed. Chance of
some spray.

6

25-31

22-27

3

9.9

Strong Breeze



Small Craft Advisory


Large waves begin to
form; the white foam
crests are more
extensive everywhere.
Probably some spray.

7

32-38

28-33

4

13

Near Gale




Sea heaps up and
white foam from
breaking waves begins
to be blown in streaks
along the direction of
the wind.

8

39-46

34-40

5.5

18

Gale



Gale Warning

Moderately high waves
2


of greater length;
edges of crests begin to
breakinto spindrift. The
foam is blown in well-
marked streaks slong
the direction of the
wind.

9

47-54

41-47

7

23

Severe Gale




High waves. Dense
streaks of foam along
the direction of the
wind. Crests of waves
begin to topple, tumble
and roll over. Spray
may affect visibility.

10

55-63

48-55

9

30

Storm



Storm Warning


Very high waves with
long over-hanging
crests. The resulting
foam, in great patches,
is blown in dense white
streaks along the
direction of the wind.
On the whole the
surface of the sea takes
on a white appearance.
The 'tumbling' of the
sea becomes heavy
and shock-like.
Visibility affected.

11

64-72

56-63

11.5

38

Violent Storm




Exceptionally high
waves (small and
medium-size ships
might be for a time lost
to view behind the
waves). The sea is
completely covered
with long white
patches of foam lying
along the direction of
the wind. Everywhere
the edges of the wave
crests are blown into
froth. Visibility
affected.

12

73-83

64-71

14+

46+

Hurricane



Hurricane Warning


The air is filled with
foam and spray. Sea
completely white with
driving spray; visibility
very seriously affected.

"The scale was created in 1806 by Sir Francis Beaufort, a British naval officer. The initial scale did not have wind speeds, but listed a
set of qualitative conditions from 0 to 12 by how a naval vessel would act under them - from 'just sufficient to give steerage' to 'that
which no canvas could withstand'. The scale was made a standard part of log entries for Royal Navy vessels in the late 1830s." From
Wikepedia
3


Force 0
Sea like a mirror

Force 1
Ripples with the appearance of scales are formed,
but without foam crests.

Force 2
Small wavelets, still short, but more pronounced.
Crests have a glassy appearance and do not break.

Force 3
Large wavelets. Crests begin to break. Foam of glassy
appearance. Perhaps scattered white horses.

Force 4
Small waves, becoming larger; fairly frequent white
horses.

Force 5
Moderate waves, taking a more pronounced long
form; many white horses are formed. Chance of
some spray.
4


Force 6
Large waves begin to form; the white foam crests
are more extensive everywhere. Probably some
spray.

Force 7
Sea heaps up and white foam from breaking waves
begins to be blown in streaks along the direction of
the wind.

Force 8
Moderately high waves of greater length; edges of
crests begin to breakinto spindrift. The foam is
blown in well-marked streaks slong the direction of
the wind.

Force 9
High waves. Dense streaks of foam along the
direction of the wind. Crests of waves begin to
topple, tumble and roll over. Spray may affect
visibility.

Force 10
Very high waves with long over-hanging crests. The
resulting foam, in great patches, is blown in dense
white streaks along the direction of the wind. On the
whole the surface of the sea takes on a white
appearance. The 'tumbling' of the sea becomes
heavy and shock-like. Visibility affected.

Force 11
Exceptionally high waves (small and medium-size
ships might be for a time lost to view behind the
waves). The sea is completely covered with long
white patches of foam lying along the direction of
the wind. Everywhere the edges of the wave crests
are blown into froth. Visibility affected.
5


Force 12
The air is filled with foam and spray. Sea completely
white with driving spray; visibility very seriously
affected.
Pictures provided by N.O.A.A.
Pierson - Moskowitz Sea Spectrum vs Beaufort Force
(Sea State Table)
Force
Sea
State
Significant Wave
(Ft)
Significant Range of
Periods (Sec)
Average Period
(Sec)
Average Length of
Waves (FT)
1 0 <.5 .5 - 1 1 2
2 1 0.5 1 - 2.5 1.5 9.5
3 2 2 1.5 - 5 3 26
4 3 3.5 2 - 6.5 4 50
5 4 6 2.5 - 8.5 5 80
6 5 8 3 - 10 6-7 130
7 6 18 4 - 13 8-9 220
8 7 32 5.5 - 17 10-12 400
9 8 52 7.5 - 23 13-15 650
10
11
12
9 60-100 9 - 28.5 16-19 800-1200



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Pierson - Moskowitz Sea Spectrum
- Values are worst case forecasts for open water in vicinity of referenced point
Wind Speed
(Kts)
Sea
State
Significant Wave
(Ft)
Significant Range of
Periods (Sec)
Average Period
(Sec)
Average Length of
Waves (FT)
3 0 <.5 <.5 - 1 0.5 1.5
4 0 <.5 .5 - 1 1 2
5 1 0.5 1 - 2.5 1.5 9.5
7 1 1 1 - 3.5 2 13
8 1 1 1 - 4 2 16
9 2 1.5 1.5 - 4 2.5 20
10 2 2 1.5 - 5 3 26
11 2.5 2.5 1.5 - 5.5 3 33
13 2.5 3 2 - 6 3.5 39.5
14 3 3.5 2 - 6.5 3.5 46
15 3 4 2 - 7 4 52.5
16 3.5 4.5 2.5 - 7 4 59
17 3.5 5 2.5 - 7.5 4.5 65.5
18 4 6 2.5 - 8.5 5 79
19 4 7 3 - 9 5 92
20 4 7.5 3 - 9.5 5.5 99
21 5 8 3 - 10 5.5 105
22 5 9 3.5 - 10.5 6 118
23 5 10 3.5 - 11 6 131.5
25 5 12 4 - 12 7 157.5
27 6 14 4 - 13 7.5 184
29 6 16 4.5 - 13.5 8 210
31 6 18 4.5 - 14.5 8.5 236.5
33 6 20 5 - 15.5 9 262.5
37 7 25 5.5 - 17 10 328.5
40 7 30 6 - 19 11 394
43 7 35 6.5 - 21 12 460
46 7 40 7 - 22 12.5 525.5
49 8 45 7.5 - 23 13 591
52 8 50 7.5 - 24 14 655
54 8 55 8 - 25.5 14.5 722.5
57 8 60 8.5 - 26.5 15 788
61 9 70 9 - 28.5 16.5 920
65 9 80 10 - 30.5 17.5 1099
69 9 90 10.5 - 32.5 18.5 1182
73 9 100 11 - 34.5 19.5 1313.5