The Highest Wind Gust in 304 Days

2013-11-02 22:33:19.000 – Mike Carmon,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

Nov 1st Hays Chart

During the night shift on Thursday night-Friday morning, southwest winds began to gradually increase after midnight. Winds were gusting in excess of hurricane force by the 2-3AM hour, but of course, we were all still waiting for much higher numbers than 74 mph! As 4AM approached, the needle on our Hays Wind Chart began to move back and forth more liberally, as winds neared 90 mph. The sound on the deck grew louder with every hourly observation, and more and more of my night was being spent gazing at the Hays Chart.

After my last observation at 5:45AM on Friday (Nov 1st), I decided to stay up a little later instead of heading right to bed, as I couldn’t miss the big show! Very soon after that observation, the winds managed to hit that seemingly elusive 100-mph mark, peaking at 102 mph just before 6AM. Thereafter, winds began to lull slightly, so I decided to give in to my fatigue and hit the hay. I did leave my shift-mates with some important instructions, though: wake me up if it starts to gust near 120 mph!

The rest of the morning remained very windy, with a few gusts peaking over 100 mph. With noontime approaching, a steady decrease in winds had taken hold, and the prospect of seeing gusts over 120 mph was becoming increasingly grim.

It was around this time that I was roused from my sleep by an incredible roar coming from outdoors. I hopped out of bed, and not a few minutes later, our intern Sam knocked on my door, exclaiming, ‘We just gusted to 121 mph!’ I ran up to the weather room, to see this impressive speed reflected on the Hays Chart. Sam, Brian and I continued to keep our eyes glued to the chart as the winds howled outside, regularly gusting between 110-115 mph. Then again, seemingly out of nowhere, a tremendously loud roar sent the Hays needle soaring very close to the edge of the chart. We could hardly believe our eyes, and waited quite impatiently for the official reading to translate in the database—130 MPH!

That number is the highest wind gust observer Brian Fitzgerald has ever seen in his nearly two years at MWO, and the highest intern Sam Hewitt has witnessed since he began his internship in early September. And as for myself, it is the highest mark I’ve personally witnessed since my all-time maximum of 137 MPH back in November of 2009. The 130 MPH mark is the highest wind gust that has been recorded on Mt. Washington since December 21st, 2012, when the 137 MPH mark was observed by our counterparts on the other shift.

It is also worth noting that 130 MPH is just shy of the force of a Category 4 Hurricane. We were all quite excited to observe such an impressive mark, and we are eagerly waiting and hoping for more of the same over the coming winter months!


Mike Carmon,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

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