Since April 12, 1934, the summit of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington has been recognized as site of the fastest wind speed ever recorded—a gust of 231 mph. But in a report released this past Friday, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that the record was toppled on April 10, 1996, at Barrow Island, Australia during Tropical Cyclone Olivia.
Cara Rudio, spokesperson for the Mount Washington Observatory, describes the sentiment at the Observatory as “bummed,” but emphasizes that the WMO has provided Mount Washington staffers with a copy of the official report, and that observatory personnel will be carefully reviewing it in the coming days.
“It’s natural to treat news like this with some level of skepticism,” says Scot Henley, Executive Director of the Mount Washington Observatory. “Dr. Randy Cerveny [of Arizona State University] was kind enough to share the findings in advance of next month’s WMO meeting in Turkey. We’re going to spend some time reviewing the materials to learn more about the instrumentation, calibration, the methods used to calculate the wind speed and everything else that went into their investigation.”
“The new record does not diminish the fact that Mount Washington is one of the fiercest places on the planet,” emphasizes Ken Rancourt, Mount Washington Observatory’s Director of Summit Operations, in a press release. “It remains consistently one of the windiest places on Earth and a location that begs further study of wind, weather and climate.”