Highest upper-level wind speed in history

Dec 4, 2003
OK, unfortunately this post is going to be a bit of a letdown. I've found too much noise in the data and don't have time to sort through it all. However you all can take a stab at if if you like... the data dump of all 200-299 kt winds at 200, 250, and 300 mb in North America 1945-2006 is located here: http://www.weathergraphics.com/tim/maxwind.htm

Poking around I did find one prospect that looks reasonable, and that's the 208 kt (239 mph) wind seen at GYX in Maine on this chart (Jan 5 1999 at 12Z). It's almost suspect but there's a 185 kt wind at Nova Scotia. OK, 239 mph beats the Mount Washington record by 8 miles an hour, so I'm onto something for this date. I haven't even begun looking at other dates, though.

JANUARY 5, 1999 1200 UTC

Should anyone want to poke around, there's the SPC map archive (from where the above chart came from) at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/obswx/maps/ and for before 1998 there's the DWM rescue site at http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/dwm/data_rescue_daily_weather_maps.html . If anyone tackles any of this it's going to be interesting to see the outcome.

208 knots... do I hear 209?

Good day everyone,

This one (below) is pretty fast too ;-)


Winds over 150 Knots (175 MPH+) at 300 MB ... I would love to be an airline pilot flying east, but west, not!
We're a ways away today, but the 12z BIS sounding earlier today showed 178kts at 272mb. It's a bit windy up there...

A couple possible tropopause folds on some soundings as well... ILX is interesting, with a very deep inversion/isothermal layer starting at 650mb! I'd call it a tropopause fold if the winds didn't increase so much through that layer...

Plenty of stratospheric air in the 250-400mb layer as well, as evidenced by the high potential vorticity (magnitude and aerial extent) seen at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/exper/mesoanalysis/s4/padv.gif
Last edited by a moderator: