baltimoresun.com

« Friday-Saturday snowfall could reach 12 inches | Main | Maryland streamflow setting records »

January 26, 2010

Mt. Washington, N.H. loses world wind speed record

Summit Mount Washington 

A panel of the World Meteorological Organization, a part of the United Nations, this week certified a new official surface wind speed record (not related to tornadoes) that eclipses one held for nearly 76 years by the weather station at the summit of New Hampshire's Mt. Washington.

The Mt. Washington mark of 231 mph, set during a winter storm, had stood since 1934. The WMO panel of experts, after a thorough review, concluded that the new world wind speed record is 254 mph, set at Barrow Island, Australia during a tropical cyclone (hurricane) called Olivia, on April 10, 1996. Barrow Island is off the country's northwest coast.

I suppose that means the N.H. record actually stood for just 62 years.

A wind speed reading of 236 mph - higher than Mt. Washington's - was reported from Guam in 1997, during a Typhoon named Paka. But that report is in dispute.

Here is part of the WMO statement:

Geneva, 22 January 2010 (WMO) - According to a recent review conducted by a panel of experts in charge of global weather and climate extremes within the WMO Commission for Climatology (CCl) the record of wind gusts not related to tornados registered to date is 408 km/h during Tropical Cyclone Olivia on 10 April 1996 at Barrow Island, Australia. The previous record was of 372 km/h, registered in April 1934 across the summit of Mount Washington, USA.

Here's how the folks at Mt. Washington responded on their Web site:

It was bound to happen, but it’s definitely quite a shock to hear that news,” says Scot Henley, Executive Director of the Mount Washington Observatory. “While we are disappointed that it appears that Mount Washington may have been bumped from the top, at our core we are all weather fans and we are very impressed with the magnitude of that typhoon and the work of the committee that studied it.”

(SUN PHOTO/Ernie Imhoff/Mount Washington summit, January 1999)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 2:10 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: By the numbers
        

Comments

We visited Mt. Washington's summit this past summer, and were amazed with the history. One point of interest regarding the wind speed record is that Mt. Washington's wind meter broke at 231 mph in the 1934 storm. They have never known for certain whether the wind speed that day might have been even greater.

I have been in the Rockies quite a few times, but Mt Washington has been and will always be my favorite mountain. I lived in New Hampshire in the 70's and visited "my mountain" frequently. Yes, it does have a storied history, certainly moreso than that island somewhere near Australia. When I hike the Appalachian Trail this coming fall/winter/spring, the highlight of my adventure will be that ole Na Hampsha Rockpile!

You should also know, my favorite town is Washington NH and my all-time hero is George Washington. Now you know, the rest of my story.

This begs the questions: If wind speeds related to tornadoes are specifically exempt from setting this record, why aren't hurricanes also exempt?? And, what would be the wind speed record excepting both storm phenomena?

As a northern NH native, the wind speed record always was a source of pride. I laugh at Marylanders who think their weather can change on a dime. Let me know when we experience ice fog.

FR: You'd be surprised: http://bit.ly/9KXxG4

I guess we now have a new way to waste 14 years. The inmates are clearly running the asylum.

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff
-- ADVERTISEMENT --

Sign up for FREE weather alerts*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for weather text alerts
SKY NOTES WEATHER

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Maryland Weather Center


Area Weather Stations
Resources and Sun coverage
• Weather news

• Readers' photos

• Data from the The Sun's weather station

• 2011 stargazers' calendar

• Become a backyard astronomer in five simple steps

• Baltimore Weather Archive
Daily airport weather data for Baltimore from 1948 to today

• National Weather Service:
Sterling Forecast Office

• Capital Weather Gang:
Washington Post weather blog

• CoCoRaHS:
Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. Local observations by volunteers

• Weather Bug:
Webcams across the state

• National Data Buoy Center:
Weather and ocean data from bay and ocean buoys

• U.S. Drought Monitor:
Weekly maps of drought conditions in the U.S.

• USGS Earthquake Hazards Program:
Real-time data on earthquakes

• Water data:
From the USGS, Maryland

• National Hurricane Center

• Air Now:
Government site for air quality information

• NWS Climate Prediction Center:
Long-term and seasonal forecasts

• U.S. Climate at a Glance:
NOAA interactive site for past climate data, national, state and city

• Clear Sky Clock:
Clear sky alerts for stargazers

• NASA TV:
Watch NASA TV

• Hubblesite:
Home page for Hubble Space Telescope

• Heavens Above:
Everything for the backyard stargazer, tailored to your location

• NASA Eclipse Home Page:
Centuries of eclipse predictions

• Cruise Critic: Hurricane Zone:
Check to see how hurricanes may affect your cruise schedule

• Warming World:
NASA explains the science of climate change with articles, videos, “data visualizations,” and space-based imagery.

• What on Earth:
NASA blog on current research at the space agency.
Most Recent Comments
Blog updates
Recent updates to baltimoresun.com news blogs
 Subscribe to this feed
Charm City Current
Stay connected