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158 MPH On Mount Washington

A deep low over Quebec and a stengthening high to the southwest brought Mount Washington it's highest wind speeds in over 10 years. Early this morning winds reached 158mph with sustained winds above 130mph. It looks like there was an hour long period where winds averaged above 125mph.

If the 158mph gust verifies this is only 3mph shy of the October record set in 1943 and just 20mph off the building record of 178mph set in 1980.

Some comments from the observers on duty: http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/comments/?year=2006&month=10#30-08-40
 
those are some amazing wind speeds there. Checked out the current conditions for mount washinton and the winds are out of the west at 125mph. That is crazy.

Do you live there? Or do you just check the weather there every once in awhile? I had no idea that conditions could be this bad there. Truly wild....

-gerrit
 
Bah, we don't care about what's happening way up on that mountain. We only care what's happening down here on Earth... ;-)
 
Do you live there? Or do you just check the weather there every once in awhile? I had no idea that conditions could be this bad there. Truly wild....

-gerrit

I used to work/live on the summit of Mount Washington. It's a research facility that is known best for its extreme rime icing and bad weather.

Oh, and they just happen to hold the world record for fastest land wind speed.
 
Unlike a tropical setup, I wonder what the wind chill is at that speed from the winter storm.
 
Unlike a tropical setup, I wonder what the wind chill is at that speed from the winter storm.

Not that bad, for this storm at least. I think it was +15F so the windchill was about -21F.

It seems like the first 50mph of wind has the biggest effect on the windchill. After that you only see small changes.
 
I've a few questions for you. With wind speeds that high, how in the world do you leave that place? I can't imagine being able to go out to your car without being blown away. I just saw something about wind on the National Geographic Channel and they did some tests and I think it was somewhere between 60-75mph winds were the highest someone could withstand without being blown away. Do you just have to wait untill the winds calm down to go outside? I just looked at the website and the winds are only 65mph right now. How do vehicles not blow away? I assume the observatory is pretty structurally sound to be able to withstand 158mph winds. 158mph wind speeds just seems pretty crazy, thats F2, allmost F3 tornado wind speeds.
 
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I've always wondered about that too. I'm assuming there is no flying debris hazard up there (nothing left to pick up - that is, except for humans). Theoretically, 158mph would easily pick you up and throw you over the side of the mountain - so that would seem like the biggest hazard. The cold would also be an obstacle to going out and playing in that wind - seems like any exposed skin would freeze immediately with the combination of cold/airflow.
 
That is an impressive wind speed, thanks for the info, Bill!

I can't imagine being able to go out to your car without being blown away. I just saw something about wind on the National Geographic Channel and they did some tests and I think it was somewhere between 60-75mph winds were the highest someone could withstand without being blown away.
Aaron,
I can tell you its difficult to stand, but its possible. In the SW part of my country we sometimes have winds with gusts exceeding 100-110mph speeds in winter time, this wind is called "Bora". Our buidings are well adapted to it and also its the same with the nature, not to mention us. Last winter we measured gusts around 110mph and we survived without blowing someone away. And to have it more sweet it was also just +10F, so you can imagine its windchill. It feels like your skin is "burning" and it gets numbed later...of course I was exposed just for 10-15min, you cant hold it longer believe me.:)

This is the reason why I want to try/feel those extreme conditions on Mt. Washington, hopefully someday.
 
With wind speeds that high, how in the world do you leave that place? I can't imagine being able to go out to your car without being blown away.

You don't leave. The observatory is a remote, mountain top facility located on 6,288 foot Mount Washington. It is the tallest mountain in New England, 8 miles from the nearest road and over 2,000 feet above tree line. It essentially has an Arctic climate that would be found several hundred miles to the north in Canada. During the summer it is packed full of tourist and hikers, but by mid-October winter sets in. Weather permitting the summit crew does a shift change once a week via snow tractor. Their cars are safely parked 5,000 feet below.

I'm assuming there is no flying debris hazard up there (nothing left to pick up - that is, except for humans). Theoretically, 158mph would easily pick you up and throw you over the side of the mountain - so that would seem like the biggest hazard. The cold would also be an obstacle to going out and playing in that wind - seems like any exposed skin would freeze immediately with the combination of cold/airflow.
You're right. There is little flying debris, which makes it much safer than playing in a hurricane. During the right conditions large chunks of ice can blow off the nearby radio antennas so that is a major hazard, but for the most part you just have to contend with snowflakes moving at 100mph. Which doesn't feel very good. Blowing off the mountain is not a real risk. Getting knocked down and sliding across the summit is possible, but you can usually do the crawl of shame back to the doors.

Last winter we measured gusts around 110mph and we survived without blowing someone away.

Marko, that sounds about right. 100-120mph is about the upper limit that you can play in. It's not entirely safe, and not everyone can do it, but it is possible. But when we start talking about 150mph winds I think it is a different story. A 100mph wind exerts about 250 pounds of pressure on the average human body. Certainly manageable by some. At 150mph there is over 500 pounds of pressure on the average human.
 
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