How To Read A Weather Vane?

Weather Vane may look like something used for decorative purposes in the countryside. But it isn’t for decorative purposes only. Many people use it as a source of telling the direction of the wind. Do you know how to read a weather vane?

Reading a weather vane is simple. There is a free-spinning pointer on top of the vane. Whichever direction the pointer points is the direction from where the wind is blowing.

Weather Vanes or Wind Vanes have been in use for centuries. Even though you will see it being used in some places for decorative purposes only, many people still use it to navigate the wind’s direction. And if you know how it works, you can end up predicting certain weather conditions as well.

History Of Weather Vane

Weather vane history goes back to the time to Chinese and Old Greece days. It is believed that the first weather vane was invented in China and Greece around the second century BCE. The Greek weather vane sat on top of The Tower of Wind on the Ancient Greek of Agora in Athens. It is set up there as a tribute to Triton.

It is a bronze weather vane that features the head and torso of a man. But the tail is of a fish. One outstretched hand is holding a wand, which is the pointer. The pointer determined the wind’s direction.

Then over time, the design of weather vanes changed. During the 9th century, people started designing weather vanes as Viking ships, shapes of animals, and globes. Later they were turned into a rooster-shaped and cock-shaped vane, and they are still popular.

How To Read A Weather Vane?

Reading a weather vane does not require rocket science. Remember that it was created to make wind direction reading easier. So, reading it is simpler than you think.

A weather vane has four pointers directing to North, South, East, and West. The names of the directions in the vane’s swiveling pointer are marked with the letters N, S, E, and W. Above them is the arrow that points to the wind’s direction.

The pointed part of the arrow points to the direction of the wind coming from. And the tail of the arrow points to the direction the wind is blowing to.

To read the weather vane, stand back and look at the moving pointer for a few seconds. If you notice the arrow pointing to the N, it means the wind is coming from the North and blowing towards the South. And if the arrow points between S and E, it means the wind is blowing from Southeast towards Northwest.

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How Does A Weather Vane Work?

Knowing how a weather vane works helps one to read it better. A weather vane works through a few procedures, and they are-


Weather vanes are placed on the highest point of a building or a house so that they can move with the wind. The free-spinning pointer comes with a particular design with a thick back and a narrow and pointy front. The design allows the pointer to move in the direction of the wind.


If the free-spinning pointer isn’t balanced perfectly, the weather vane will fail to provide a proper reading. There shouldn’t be any obstacle around the vane so that the pointer’s movement can be hampered.


The pointy part of a weather vane’s spinner always points to the direction of the wind. And the back of the spinner will be towards the direction the wind is blowing to.


Being able to read the weather vane correctly will give you more advantages. Close observation on when the wind moves in which direction will help you predict upcoming weather.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Which Direction Does A Weather Vane Point?

A weather vane always points in the direction of the wind. It means the arrow points where the wind is coming from. If the arrow indicates to the East, it means the wind is blowing from the East and moving to the West.

Q. How High Does A Weather Vane Need To Be?

The height often depends on your weather vane installation purpose. If it is for decoration, the height won’t matter much. However, if you want to know the wind’s directions, you need to install it in a specific height range.

Usually, weather vanes are installed at the highest point of a building’s roof. In that case, you only set it up on the roof. On the other hand, if you are installing it in the ground, the weather vane needs to be at least 6-7 feet off the ground.

Q. Where Should I Put My Weather Vane?

You can put your weather vane anywhere outdoors. You can install it a few feet above the ground or on your rooftop or the top of a cupola.

If there’s a cupola in your house, that would be the best place to put the weather vane. It always enhances the beauty of the location. If your house doesn’t have a cupola, you can set it up on the highest point of your roof.

Q. Why Is There A Rooster On A Weather Vane?

It is a very frequently asked question and also reasonable. The rooster is seen to be a commonly used weather vane design. That’s significant for two reasons.

The rooster’s tail design helps catch the wind. Besides, roosters are known for seeing the first sunlight of the day before anyone else and announcing it. It is also known for warding off evils. Thus, you see roosters on a weather vane more than any other shape.


Knowing how to read a weather vane comes in handy. Not only it helps you understand the direction of the wind, but it also helps you understand the change of weather.

Anyone can read a weather vane. Just look at the direction the arrow is pointing, and that’s the direction the wind is blowing from. But it takes a more extended observation skill to learn the relation between wind blowing and the weather.

Also, make sure to maintain your weather vane. As they age, the metal can turn rusty, that can give you a less accurate reading.