Wind reports in forecasts

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Dear Tom,
I read your forecasts for the winds and their directions. You usually use SW or NW, but lately southerly or easterly. Now, I no longer know if they are coming from the south or headed to the south. Please clarify.
—Catherine Novotny
Dear Catherine,
The wind direction listed, whether by name, letter abbreviation, or with an “ly” attached, ALL mean the same thing. The wind direction is the direction the wind is coming from. That’s why a north wind generally brings colder weather to Chicago, and south winds imply a warmup. Wind direction is reported to eight compass points: N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW. These directions can be further refined to 16 compass points with the addition of NNE, ENE, etc. When more precise wind directions are needed, directions are reported to 36 points of the compass in 10-degree increments.

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