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    Jesse Ferrell

    167 MPH Winds in California, at Least!

    By Jesse Ferrell, Meteorologist/Community Director
    1/11/2012, 5:27:07 AM

    Wind gusts of up to 167 mph have been measured in the mountains of California overnight, with 123 mph in Colorado, and around 100 mph in Utah and Arizona. This data is not from official NOAA stations but I believe the gusts may have been considerably higher.* Readings for more populated stations can be obtained from our news story.


    wind1201b

    The 167 mph gust from Henniger Flats, CA is shown above. A map of Mammoth Mountain, CA below shows current wind gusts at 12Z today, including the 150 mph gust. It's very clear that the high winds were dependent on elevation.


    mammoth1201a

    Zooming out, this map from CoolWx.com does a good job of showing how localized the high winds are -- the highest are only on mountaintops with significant elevation.


    stream

    Here is a list of the highest gusts by state, and all gusts over 110 mph:

    -- Henninger Flats, Calif. (2,800 ft., near Pasadena): 167 mph*
    -- Mammoth Mountain, Calif. (11,000 ft.): 150 mph*
    -- Steamboat Springs Ski Resort, Colo.: 123 mph
    -- Kane Springs, Nevada: 98 mph
    -- Neihart, MT: 77 mph
    -- Meeteetse, Wyom.: 75 mph
    -- Sandia Park, New Mexico: 72 mph


    There were dozens of reports of downed trees and power lines, as evidenced by the NWS Spotter map below, and listed out in our news story. We also have an impressive collection of damage photos and videos.


    winddamage1201a

    *If you look closely at the Henninger Flats obs, the wind gusts disappear for four hours, while the sustained winds still increase. This could mean that the quality control algorithms deleted the data because they thought it was too far out of bounds (either compared to other local stations, a flat cut-off point for ridiculous wind gusts, or a bad ratio of sustained vs. wind gusts). And Mammoth stayed at 150 mph (a suspiciously round number) for about 20 observations, as if it was stuck at an upper limit. Unfortunately, we may never know. An "official" report of 134 mph has been filed by the National Weather Service for a different weather station on Mammoth Mountain today. Other extreme wind gusts I have blogged about in the past:

    -- 164 mph at Mammoth in 2010
    -- 164 mph at Snowslip, MT in 2006
    -- 164 mph at Ward Mountain, NV in 2008
    -- 183 mph at Lee Vining Hill, CA in 2006



    167_MPH_Winds_in_California,_at_Least

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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    Jesse Ferrell