The U.S. National Weather Service defines a gale as 34–47 knots (63–87 km/h, 17.5–24.2 m/s or 39–54 miles/hour) of sustained surface winds. Forecasters typically issue gale warnings when winds of this strength are expected.
Other sources use minima as low as 28 knots (52 km/h; 14 m/s; 32 mph), and maxima as high as 90 knots (170 km/h; 46 m/s; 100 mph). Through 1986, the National Hurricane Center used the term gale to refer to winds of tropical force for coastal areas, between 33 knots (61 km/h; 17 m/s; 38 mph) and 63 knots (117 km/h; 72 mph; 32 m/s). The 90 knots (170 km/h; 46 m/s; 100 mph) definition is very non-standard. A common alternative definition of the maximum is 55 knots (102 km/h; 63 mph; 28 m/s).
The most common way of measuring winds is with the Beaufort scale, which defines a gale as wind from 50 kilometres per hour (14 m/s) to 102 kilometres per hour (28 m/s). It is an empirical measure for describing wind speed based mainly on observed sea conditions. Its full name is the Beaufort wind force scale.
On the Beaufort scale, a gale can be classified as:
7: moderate gale (32–38 miles per hour),
8: fresh gale (39-46 mph),
9: strong gale (47-54 mph), or
10: storm/whole gale (55-63 mph).
A gale is a type of Wind Description preceded by:
1: light air,
2: light breeze,
3: gentle breeze,
4: moderate breeze,
5: fresh breeze, and
6: strong breeze;
and succeeded by:
11: violent storm and
on a Beaufort Wind Scale. There is a unique Beaufort scale number and a unique arrow indication for each type of wind description mentioned above.
The word gale is derived from the older gail, but its origin is uncertain.
To sing; charm; enchant.
To cry; groan; croak.
To sing; utter with musical modulations.
To sail, or sail fast.
A very strong wind, more than a breeze, less than a storm; number 7 through to 9 winds on the 12-step Beaufort scale.
An outburst, especially of laughter.
“a gale of laughter”
A light breeze.
A song or story.
A shrub, also called sweet gale or bog myrtle (Myrica gale), that grows on moors and fens.
A periodic payment, such as is made of a rent or annuity.
“Gale day – the day on which rent or interest is due.”