Eighty-nine years ago today, Mount Washington Observatory, in its second year of existence, recorded a world-record wind speed of 231 miles per hour – a record that would stand for over 60 years.
Today is Big Wind Day, commemorating the event.
Although a higher wind speed has since been recorded elsewhere (Tropical Cyclone Olivia, Barrow Island, Australia, April 10, 1996), the Observatory’s measurement of the “Big Wind” on April 12, 1934 still stands as the fastest wind speed ever recorded by a staffed weather station.
The ambitious weather observers atop Mount Washington had been hoping to achieve such a record, yet no one anticipated that it would occur on that particular day in 1934.
In fact, neither the Observatory team nor the consulting meteorologists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Blue Hill Observatory expected the winds to reach such a historic velocity.
Continue reading as current Weather Observer & Education Specialist Alexandra Branton summarizes the events of Big Wind Day, based on writings by the weather observers who experienced it in 1934, Sal Pagliuca and Alex McKenzie.
Alex McKenzie, left, and Sal Pagliuca tighten the guy wires holding the anemometer to the roof. Learn more about the World Record Wind.
As we celebrate Big Wind Day, we honor all who’ve sustained the Observatory since 1932, helping us continue studying extreme weather.
The world record wind of 1934 confirmed the value of a permanent mountaintop station, and Mount Washington Observatory was established as a private, nonprofit organization to observe and maintain a record of weather data, perform weather and climate research, and foster public understanding of the mountain and its environment.
We are so proud to continue this legacy. And we invite you to become a member today. Your support, in any amount, is meaningful and advances the work of our weather observers and education team.
We were thrilled to host Nancy Chen and the CBS Mornings team for a visit to our summit weather station. Watch their new story about Mount Washington Observatory‘s role in the long-term study of extreme weather and the bigger picture of Earth’s climate.
New Mesonet Overview Published by AMS Journal
The American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology has just published our “Technical Overview of a Mountain-Based Mesonet,” written by lead author Brian Fitzgerald.
The Observatory‘s Mount Washington Regional Mesonet is a network of 18 remote stations at different elevations across the White Mountains. As the new technical overview states, the mesonet “allows data users to understand how the weather varies spatially across the mountain range where conditions on higher peaks can be drastically, and dangerously, different.”
Our mesonet data are used by forecasters to validate weather model guidance, alpine and climate scientists, recreationalists accessing conditions in the backcountry, groups operating on the mountain, and search and rescue organizations.
Ellen Estabrook2023-11-08T07:34:12-05:00November 7th, 2023|Comments Off on A Glimpse at METAR Reports
A Glimpse at METAR Reports By Alexis George, Weather Observer & Meteorologist METAR observations are submitted every hour of every day at Mount Washington Observatory. METAR is a format for reporting weather information that gets
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Mount Washington Observatory is a private, nonprofit, member-supported institution with a mission to advance understanding of the natural systems that create Earth’s weather and climate. It serves this mission by maintaining a weather station on the summit of Mount Washington, performing weather and climate research, conducting innovative science education programs, and interpreting the heritage of the Mount Washington region. Our weather station is located on the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire, at Mount Washington State Park.