The Windiest Place Is…

The blizzard on Monday once again reminded us of how windy the Red River Valley can be. The wind gusted to over 50 mph at times (peak was 54 mph at Fargo’s Airport and 55 mph at Moorhead’s airport). But our wind potential pales in comparison to the weather station atop Mount Washington in New Hampshire.

Rising to over 6000 feet the same cold air masses the sweep through our area have a much greater impact on the weather station situated so high above sea level. Wind speeds exceeding 100 mph are common and in April, 1934 a gust measured to 231 mph was observed. This has been listed as the strongest wind speed ever directed measured by instrumentation until this month.

The World Meteorological Organization just announced that after a long review that a new world wind speed record has been verified. Back on April 10, 1996 Tropical Cyclone Olivia produced a gust of 253 mph as it passed near Barrow Island in Australia besting the long held Mount Washington record.

4 Responses

  1. Robert V Sobczak

    A new king of the hill, so to speak! Isn’t there a height scaling factor: I’d much rather be at a lower elevation than perched on a mountain top ice bound with vertigo.

  2. Daryl Ritchison

    Robert, your point is well taken, as Mount Washington does have a distinct advantage. I just feel sorry for New Hampshire. They lost their “man on the mountain” and now this wind record. It’s been a bad decade for the state apparently.

  3. Henry

    I would assume that tornadic wind speeds, specifically F5, are excluded from the world record. As a sidenote, a 253 MPH wind translates to a stagnation pressure of roughly 164 psf acting in a horizontal direction. 164 psf is the equivalent of the weight of 31 inches of water acting horizontally. The 234 MPH wind on Mount Washington translates to a stagnation pressure of roughly 114 psf taking into account the decreased air density at 6000 ft. Decreased air density translates to a lower stagnation pressure for an equal velocity. Therefore, wind velocity at a higher elevation has a slightly lessor impact. Neither wind speed is fit for man nor beast.

  4. Daryl Ritchison

    Tornadic wind has never been directly measured, therefore not included, but if by chance a sensor could withstand the wind, an F5 would be included in the record books.

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