115+ MPH Winds for Christmas?

2016-12-24 10:09:54.000 – Tom Padham, Weather Observer/Meteorologist


Santa looks to be bringing plenty of wind to the summit crew this year on top of our presents! Low pressure will strengthen overnight as it tracks through southern Canada, with a very tight pressure gradient likely resulting in winds over 100 mph from midnight tonight through the morning Christmas Day. As of right now models are indicating winds will likely top out near 115 mph (category 3 hurricane strength) around sunrise, adding a bit of excitement to our Christmas morning!

Out of curiosity, I decided to look up the highest winds observed on Christmas Day over our 84-year history dating back to 1932. A typical Christmas on the summit of Mount Washington sees a daily temperature of 7°F (-14°C), with an average wind speed of roughly 45 mph. After a bit of searching through the data it appears that there have been many Christmas’ with winds topping out well over 100 mph. Christmas 1978 had the highest peak wind of 149 mph during a strong Nor’easter with 13.9” of snowfall in 24 hours, quite the impressive day! In more recent years, Christmas 2014 saw a peak gust of 109 mph, and 2008 had a peak gust of 129 mph. For now I’ll be paying close attention to the weather models and looking forward to what should be an interesting Christmas on the summit!


Tom Padham, Weather Observer/Meteorologist

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