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How are actual wind speeds converted to wind factors at track meets?  For example, a -4.1wind factor would indicate what actual wind speed in mph?

Dear Jeff:

I apologize that my answer did apparently not reach you because I am so poor at using modern technology.  

The wind speeds are measured mechanically with wind speed apparatus carefully stationed to read upwind air movement along the line directed against the way the athlete is traveling regardless of the event.  I suspect that you know this.


Kilometres per hour (American English: kilometers per hour) is a unit of both speed (scalar) and velocity (vector). The unit symbol is km/h or kmh−1. The incorrect abbreviations "kph" and "kmph" are sometimes also seen in English-speaking countries, in analogy to mph. In North American slang and military usage, km/h (as well as km) is commonly pronounced, and sometimes even written, as klicks or kays (K's). Read more >>

I want to convert:

Kilometre per second
Metre per second
Kilometre per hour
Millimetre per second
Micrometre per second
Mile per second
Mile per hour
Foot per second
Speed of light
Speed of sound
A brisk walk
Speed of a common snail

I believe that this is the best answer I can discern from a collection of information associated with your question.  The two url's are the first anecdotal story of greatest measured wind speed on Mt Washington which seemed to be at least a clear sense of what I was looking for.  I can confirm that we do not do this as officials on the track, but probably would if we had done or been exposed to this issue.

The second url is the calculation method explained and detailed so I hope I have found and answered your inquiry.  I cannot warrant that is what is actually used at a track mean, but I do believe it is the actual calculation used to build the charts used to create the charts used to compare anemometer reading and correct speed that we do use.

I thank you for the question as it has forced me to learn a great deal I did not know, notwithstanding three plus years at sea in the Navy aboard a destroyer in the western Pacific during the Viet Nam conflict.  I sincerely hope it is what you were looking for or at least serves you purpose.  Good luck, Dick Howland

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Richard Howland


I am a master USATF Track and Field official and can answer questions about officiating high school (NFHS), college (NCAA), National (USATF) and international in field events. I am not a coach except for other officials. My specialties are the Field events except pole vault.


I delight in meeting athletes from all backgrounds and ages. I have even officiated field events for a one hundred year old long jumper as well as many "Master" and "Senior" athletes. Special olympics is a great event for officials to volunteer and see the essence of good sport on the faces of the athletes. After thirty three years as a trial lawyer in Massachusetts with a focus on sports law, among others, I retired and devote much of my time to officiating. I referee soccer, time football, officiate swimming and diving, and officiate and start all events in track and field. My special focus in field events. In high school and college I played soccer, squash and lacrosse, but track was not available in any depth then. Since I was a lawyer I began officiating and training to officiate sports which I could fit into my schedule. I honestly do not remember when I first started track and field officiating, but estimate that I have been very active for at least fifteen years. I regularly officiate all events and levels.

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