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Name: Suzanne W.
Status: other
Age: 50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2/23/2003

Which way does the arrow on a weather vane point: Ex: if the wind is coming out of the west and blowing straight to the east, is a weather vane designed (balanced) to have the arrow pointing to the east, indicating the wind is moving to the east? Or does it point to the west, indicating from where it is coming, not going? I have asked so many people, and on the surface it seems an easy question, but in these days, no working weather vanes can be observed in my area.


The arrow points in the same direction that the wind is blowing. Wind from the west, arrow points to the east.

ProfHoff 579


The arrow on the weather vane always points at the direction that the wind is coming from. So, if the wind is coming out of the west, the arrow on the vane points to the west.

The same is true for all wind direction sensing instruments.

David R. Cook
Atmospheric Research Section
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory

Suzanne -

I have a weather vane on the barn in my back yard and it points into the wind. In other words if the wind is out of the north (a "northerly wind"), the arrow points north. If you were to face north, the wind would blow in your face.

Being an arrow, it kind of makes sense. When an arrow flies through the air, the "wind" goes from the point of the arrow toward the tail.

Larry Krengel

Most weather vanes are designed to point in the direction the wind is coming FROM. So if the weather vane is pointing east (an there is a wind blowing), it is an east wind. (Recall that wind direction is also reported as the direction FROM which the wind is coming. In the continental U.S., the "prevailing westerlies" move from the pacific coast to the Atlantic coast, from west to east.)

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois

Dear Suzanne-

Weather vanes may have different appearances, but they generally have one thing in common, and that is the direction the "arrow" points with respect to wind direction. That part of the vane opposite, or on the other end from the arrow is usually broader and flatter than the arrow end. That structure will align such that it offers the least resistance to the wind, which will point the arrow end INTO the wind. So, the arrow points to the direction the wind is blowing FROM. You will note that most weather reports give the direction the wind is blowing FROM, rather than the direction it is moving towards...

And you are right, there are not many weather vanes in use any more. A good "substitute" for wind vanes, are flag poles, except in this case, the flag waves in the direction the wind is blow TOWARDS... So, if the flag is pointing southeast, the wind is from the northwest.

Wendell Bechtold

Oh!!! There are a lot of weather vanes around. They just do not look like weather vanes. They are flags on flag poles!!! The "stars" end of the flag points in the direction the wind is coming from, and the amount of fluttering is a qualitative measure of the speed of the wind.

Vince Calder

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