Highest Wind Speeds in Colorado

Mar 23, 2013
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Denver, CO
[h=5]Interesting that Longs Peak holds the record for the highest winds ever recorded in the state of Colorado at 201 mph! This was a NON-TORNADIC event that was recorded in the Winter of 1981. There are likely wind events with higher wind speeds, however, recording and data keeping only began in the early 1980's.

http://blogs.denverpost.com/weather/2011/12/29/high-wind-a-frequent-guest-in-colorado/98/

http://jonathanvigh.com/weather/longs/longs_peak_weather.htm

I can't imagine having the misfortune of choosing to climb that day (and many climbers do climb in the winter) only to get blown off the darn mountain by Hurricane/Tornado force winds.[/h]
 

MClarkson

EF5
Sep 2, 2004
890
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Blacksburg, VA
Last winter the GFS had forecast about 275mph (sustained) for a jet core blasting the summit of K2. Implying gusts into the 300s, especially taking into account orographic effects in spots. Of course, no one was there and no instrument package would have survived, but the forecast was likely in the right ballpark, driven by the massive thermal gradient between the frigid Tibetan Plateau and the warm Indian subcontinent.
 

Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
Staff member
Oct 7, 2008
2,950
1,418
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Westminster, CO
www.meteor.iastate.edu
I'm sure the high and isolated nature of the terrain contributes to such wind speeds. You would never see such high winds at lower altitudes or in areas with more terrain at a given pressure level (in non-tornadic/non-TC conditions). Friction would slow the winds substantially. When you have peaks that nudge into the jet stream level, that's where you can get such extreme "surface" winds.