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by Ernest Thompson Seton

(Adopted for general use by the United States Signal Service on and after March 1, 1887.)

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No. 1, white flag, clear or fair weather, no rain.

No. 2, blue flag, rain or snow.

No. 3, black triangular flag, refers to temperature, and above Numbers 1 or 2 indicates warmer weather; below Numbers 1 or 2 indicates colder weather, and when not displayed, stationary weather.

No. 4, white flag with black center (cold wave flag), sudden fall in temperature; this signal is usually ordered at least twenty-four hours in advance of the cold wave. It is not displayed unless a temperature of forty-five degrees or less is expected, nor is flag No. 3 ever displayed with it.

No. 5, means local rain or snow; with 3 above it means with higher temperature; and with 3 below it means lower temperature.

A red flag with a black center indicates that a storm of marked violence is expected.

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Display Examples
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Storm and Hurricane Warnings
STORM WARNINGS.--A red flag with a black center indicates a storm of marked violence. The pennants displayed with flags indicate direction of wind--red, easterly; white, westerly, pennant above flag indicates wind from northerly quadrants; below, from southerly quadrants.
By night a red light indicates easterly winds, white light below red, westerly winds.
Two red flags with black centers indicate approach of tropical hurricane.
No night hurricane signals are displayed.

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.