I’m not sure what took them 14 years, but a new world-record wind speed of 253 mph was confirmed this week by scientists at the World Meteorological Organization.
The record wind gust was measured on April 10, 1996, on Barrow Island, Australia, during Tropical Cyclone Olivia. This is the highest official wind speed ever recorded on land on Earth, and breaks the previous world record of 231 mph, which was set in April 1931 atop Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
Tropical cyclones are the same type of storms as hurricanes and typhoons. Olivia was the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane as it roared along the northwest coast of Australia. The storm injured 10 people in the mining town of Pannawonica.
According to the WMO, “the panel came to its conclusion after an extensive review and evaluation of instrumental, phenomenological and statistical data.” The Mt. Washington wind speed of 231 mph remains the highest on record in the Northern and Western Hemispheres.
A wind gust of 318 mph was measured by Doppler radar during a tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, in 1999. However, Doppler records are not considered official.
By Doyle Rice
For a visual from Accu-Weather of what that wind looked like:
Notice how when the 253 mph wind gust occurred, it was significantly higher than the sustained winds at the time. In fact the gust factors increased from an average of 1.33 to 2.27-2.75 at the time of the peak wind gust. Click here for more detail.
Congrats to the Aussies!