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What Is an Anemometer and a Wind Vane?

How to use them in construction and cranes

To describe the wind in a specific site, you must know both its speed and direction. An anemometer is a weather instrument that measures wind speed, and its direction can be determined with a wind vane. Since wind speed and direction are closely related, weather monitoring systems normally include both instruments.

Wind speed and direction must be monitored carefully in the construction industry, especially when tower cranes are involved. The wind can exert significant forces on structures and cranes, which can affect various levels of operation and ignoring it can be extremely dangerous. The strength of wind forces is related with speed, while wind direction tells where these forces will push from.

When anemometers and wind vanes are combined with a smart weather monitoring system, their data can be used to calculate other wind variables. For example, wind speed data can be analyzed to determine the average value and the maximum value, and the level of turbulence can be calculated from the ongoing variations in wind speed.

What does an anemometer look like?

An anemometer gets its name from the Greek word “anemos”, which means wind. There are many types, but cup anemometers are among the most common:

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A cup anemometer starts spinning when the wind blows from any direction. As wind speed increases, the anemometer also spins faster. The number of turns per second can be used to calculate wind speed, and modern electronic anemometers can do this automatically.

What does a wind vane look like?

Compared with an anemometer, a wind vane is a simpler device. A wind vane has a shape that keeps it pointed in the direction the wind is blowing, and it can rotate freely to indicate any direction.



The wind direction is constantly changing just like the speed, and a wind vane moves accordingly. The first wind vanes only provided a visual indication, but modern ones can convert their direction measurements into electronic data.

Using anemometers and wind vanes in construction sites

In construction projects, having the right weather monitoring system keeps you informed about wind speed and direction. This way, you can use accurate data to decide when it is safe to proceed with construction work, while avoiding dangerous conditions. This is more efficient and safer than relying only on weather forecasts, since they are less accurate than direct measurements at a specific height.

In addition to accuracy, you need connectivity to check weather conditions at project sites, at any time. As a construction manager, it is likely that you must visit several projects per day. Dangerous wind conditions can occur at any time, and the weather monitoring system must be capable of sending notifications to you right away.

The wind should never be ignored in construction management. Project sites have many objects that can become airborne with strong wind, which can threaten workers or cause material damage. Tower cranes are especially vulnerable to high wind speeds: they can lose control of their load, or can even collapse completely. Anemometers and wind vanes help manage construction sites and make them safer.







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