WIND — its effect on flags and flagpoles

Where the wind comes sweeping. . .

March is the month when wind really becomes a major factor in most locations. Despite what the song says, Oklahoma isn't the only place on the map where heavy winds are commonplace. Windspeed is one of the most important factors to consider for anyone selecting the outdoor American flag or commercial flagpole that best suits their needs.

What is windspeed rating?

Windspeed means the movement of air in an outside environment. Movement can be affected by many factors, including geographic location, weather, pressure gradient, and jet streams. When we talk about windspeed ratings, it is nearly always in reference to a flagpole with a flag on it.

Why is windspeed important?

High winds can cause unpleasant side effects for flag flyers. For example, a low-quality flag or a flag made of unsuitable material may not hold up to heavy winds, causing the flag to prematurely come apart at the seams or fray on the ends. You can follow this link to learn what constitutes a high-quality flag.

More importantly, however, a flagpole's windspeed rating is calculated according to the size of flag that the pole is engineered to fly. This is because wind can also wreak tremendous havoc on flagpoles. Flag size and wind force are used to calculate the maximum wind-load on a flagpole. As a general rule, one quarter to one third of a flagpole's height is equivalent to the maximum length flag that should be flown on it. Display of an oversized flag could result in a flagpole that fails. Furthermore, an oversized flag increases the amount strain on all of the ancillary parts (snap hooks, weights, ropes, etc...), and can result in failures that lead to flag or flagpole damage.

If a second flag is flown from the same flagpole, the sizing equation changes and it is best to discuss optimal flag sizes with your flag professional.

Find your windspeed

Download the windspeed map below (click the image) to help you select the flagpole best suited to your location. Bear in mind that this map is useful for ground-set flagpoles only. Poles affixed above ground or on the side of buildings are subject to different windspeeds.


Click to download the Wind Speed Ratings Map. The map is based on a 50-year period of recurrence at an elevation of 30 feet.

What to know before purchasing a flagpole

Photo call!

Send us your pictures of American flags, flagpoles, ropes, or other accessories! We would be honored to feature your photography in our blog or on Facebook. Remember, photos of damaged flags and accessories are valuable, too.

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Have a great day, from your friends at LIBERTY FLAGS, The American Wave®.


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