The Boufort Scale

 

Force

Miles per Hour 

Knots

Description

Specifications for use on land

0

0-1

0-1

Calm

Smoke rises vertically.

Kites lie forlornly on the ground.  People argue with spouses about the point of having a flagpole in the garden

1

1-3

1-3

Light air

Direction of wind shown by smoke drift, but not by wind vanes.

Owners of becalmed sailing boats try to ignore the people mooning them from passing motor cruisers

2

4-7

4-6

Light Breeze

Wind felt on face; leaves rustle; ordinary vanes moved by wind.

Severn Bridge closed to high-sided traffic.  Houses made of straw collapse, forcing little pigs to move in with their brother

3

8-12

7-10

Gentle Breeze

Leaves and small twigs inconstant motion; wind extends light flag.

Holidaymakers insist that it’s nice and sunny and that family should stop complaining about the cold, take off their sweaters and enjoy themselves on the beach.  Display racks outside of gift shops topple over, sending postcards spinning down the road.

4

13-18

11-16

Moderate Breeze

Raises dust and loose paper; small branches are moved.

Small birds easily blown off course.  Severn Bridge closed to all traffic, causing impromptu parties on both sides.

5

19-24

17-21

Fresh Breeze

Small trees in leaf begin to sway; crested wavelets form on inland waters.

Holidaymakers tell themselves that the weather will be better tomorrow.  Golfers pretend 600-yard drives have nothing to do with wind conditions.

6

25-31

22-27

Strong Breeze

Large branches in motion; whistling heard in telegraph wires; umbrellas used with difficulty

Bruce Forsyth decides to stay indoors for a while.

7

  32-38

28-33

Near Gale

Whole trees in motion; inconvenience felt when walking against the wind.

Medium-sized birds have difficulty in remaining perched.  Houses made of sticks collapse, forcing another little pig resettlement.

8

39-46

34-40

Gale

Breaks twigs off trees; generally impedes progress.

People who saw the film Twister begin to think seriously about stockpiling food.  Holidaymakers promise their families that next year they’ll go to Ibiza.

9

47-54

41-47

Severe Gale

Slight structural damage occurs, (chimney-pots and slates removed).

Vehicles blown over.  Flightless birds leave the ground.  Houses made of brick collapse, leaving little pigs vulnerable to Big Bad Wolf attack

10

55-63

48-55

Storm

Seldom experienced inland; trees uprooted; considerable structural damage occurs.

People nervously read insurance policy small print.  Little pigs saved when freak gust lifts up Big Bad Wolf and blows him far away.  Pigs live happily ever after.

11

64-72

56-63

Violent Storm

Very rarely experienced; accompanied by wide-spread damage.

Windmills take off.  Met Office forecasts light to moderate gusts with scattered showers, brightening by the morning.  Big Bad Wolf lands in Belgium.

12

73-83

64-71

 Hurricane

Trees blown down.  Tall buildings collapse.  Met Office staff meet to discuss excuses.

Northerners cower in fear of their lives, Southerners struggle to light their fags

 

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