About Forecast Wind

Introduction

The wind forecasts are generated automatically by computer models and updated twice a day at around 6 am and 6 pm EST. The 'Day 1' and 'Day 2' wind forecast is from the Bureau of Meteorology's high resolution weather forecast model. The 'Days 3 - 7' wind forecasts are based on data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

Forecast wind

Small sample image of wind mapThe forecast wind speed and direction is presented on a national colour coded map that can be clicked to link to state and territory views and northern and southern area maps for the larger states. Views are also available for the capital city local waters areas. The wind speed in knots, is indicated by the colours shown in the legend, as well as by the arrow size. The arrow sizes show the relative wind speed for each map, with the longest length scaled to represent the highest wind speed. Wind direction is indicated by the arrow direction. The start of the arrow is the direction that the wind is blowing from. The arrow point shows the direction the wind is blowing to. For example an arrow pointing upwards Example of wind arrow showing direction is blowing from the South to the North.

The Day 1 and Day 2 wind forecast maps can be animated by using the controls above the image. Animation controls enable play, stop, step forward, step back and animation speed buttons, as well as a button that can be dragged with your mouse, to control the sequence. These maps are in 3 hourly intervals.

Wind forecast maps from Day 3, up to 7 days ahead are available in 6 hourly intervals. The animation feature is not available for the 3 to 7 day forecast due to the large number of images. Use the 'Earlier' or 'Later' buttons, or the time selection menu to step through the forecast.
The forecast time and date is below the maps, as well as the time of issue and the next routine forecast update. Australian Eastern Standard Time (EST) is used for the national map. State and territory maps use local times.

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How good are the wind forecasts?

The most recent forecasts are more accurate so it is important to review the forecasts regularly. In particular check forecasts from days 4 - 7 as they may change significantly.

These wind forecasts should be used together with the Bureau's marine forecast and warning services. They may not always reflect official forecasts, especially in the vicinity of weather fronts, tropical cyclones or in rapidly changing weather conditions. These wind forecasts are intended to be used as guidance only and have not been quality controlled by forecasters.

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Wind speed

Many activities are impacted by the wind. The lightest areas indicate lower wind speeds, and the more intensely coloured areas indicate the higher wind speeds. The wind forecasts are for average wind speeds at the standard height of 10 metres above sea level.

Wind speeds usually increase with height above the sea-surface.

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Wind gusts

Gusts are increases in wind speed lasting for just a few seconds. The speeds are typically 30 to 50 per cent higher than the average wind speed, but stronger gusts are likely in the vicinity of showers, thunderstorms and frontal systems.

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Graph showing wind speed and wind gust speed
Graph showing the wind gust speed compared with average wind speed.

Forecast models

The numerical computer models used to create the wind forecasts are:

  • Day 1 and Day 2 wind forecasts: Based on data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology ACCESS high resolution model on a 10 kilometre grid.
  • Days 3 - 7 wind forecasts: Based on data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast model on a 55 kilometre grid.

More about numerical models

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Strong winds

It is important to check warnings when strong winds are forecast and tropical cyclone (TC) information when circular patterns of wind arrows are evident in areas where cyclones tend to occur.

Image showing circular pattern of wind arrows off Queensland coast.