When searching Google for a term like "weather" or "temperature" it helpfully provides a widget with your location's weather information. In the wind tab, I always assumed that the size of the arrows was proportional to the wind speed, until today. The arrows for 15 and 16 are drastically different, despite being 1mph difference, while the arrows for 9 and 15 are extremely close to being the same size, despite the 6mph difference.

wind tab

I've tried searching for an explanation, but couldn't find anything. What exactly does the arrow size mean?

  • 1
    I expect it's a visual indicator of wind speed. The largest speeds in your screen shot have the largest arrows. – ale Feb 28 '17 at 15:25

It's the difference between sustained winds, and wind gusts. The numbers are the sustained wind speeds, while the arrows reflect the wind gusts. The arrows are like kind of like the "feels like" temperature. It may only be 15mph-16mph winds from noon to 6, but around 3 it's going to "feel" worse because of the gusts that are worse. Just a rough estimate from the picture, maybe around 25mph-30mph gusts.

| improve this answer | |
  • Do you have a source for this? – David Starkey Mar 1 '17 at 21:29
  • Mostly from experience with the weather and observation of conditions relative to forecasts. The closest thing I can find for a "source" is a post on Little Big Details by Westin Lohne. – user144900 Mar 2 '17 at 0:15

I have a different, and equally unsubstantiated, hypothesis: the arrow size is merely indicative of which of three bands the wind speed falls into:

  • Small - Up to and including 7 mph
  • Medium - 8 mph to 15 mph (both inclusive)
  • Large - 16 mph and above

WA103631 example

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.