HC Deb 27 January 1960 vol 616 cc142-3
2. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether the Beaufort wind scale is used in descriptive matter issued by the Meteorological Office with weather maps; at what height the wind speed is taken; and at what miles-per-hour of wind speed the word "gale" is first used in such matter.

Mr. Ward

We use the Beaufort scale in issuing information to seamen. Our wind measurements are related to a height of 10 metres above flat ground. The term "gale" is used if the wind is blowing at from 39–46 miles an hour, which corresponds to force 8 on the Beaufort scale.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the word "gale" is used very loosely indeed in Press forecasts, and sometimes in forecasts on television, when what is meant is a nice fresh breeze of about 20 m.p.h.? Will he draw the attention of the Meteorological Office to the matter for accuracy in the use of this word?

Mr. Ward

If the Meteorological Office has misled the public in any way, I shall certainly look into it, but my information is that the Beaufort scale is used only in shipping forecasts and that the terms are well understood by those concerned with shipping.

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