New Hampshire’s Mount Washington has lost its claim to the world’s fastest wind speed. A new world record was recorded on April 10, 1996 in Barrow Island, Australia, during Typhoon Olivia.
I know what you are thinking… “Wait, typhoons are in bounds?”
And maybe you are also thinking, “Huh? 1996?”
As it turns out, typhoons are indeed fair game for this world record – apparently the only thing off limits is a tornado. And the reason it took 14 years for us to hear about it is because the folks who recorded it didn’t really think much about it. The World Meteorological Organization stumbled upon the data while conducting a review of weather records. Imagine that, Mt. Washington loses its claim to fame and source of pride, and the folks who broke the record didn’t know… and probably didn’t care.
So what’s the new record? 253.5 mph, which shatters the old record of 231 mph. They didn’t even need the extra .5.
The Mount Washington Observatory is taking the news in stride though, and have even set up a website with information about the record.
“It was bound to happen,” Scot Henley, executive director of the Mount Washington Observatory, said in a prepared statement. “While we are disappointed that it appears that Mount Washington may have been bumped from the top, at our core, we are all weather fans and we are very impressed with the magnitude of that typhoon and the work of the committee that studied it.”
New Hampshire has taken a few other lumps in recent years. First they lost their state emblem when the Old Man of the Mountain collapsed, and last year the beloved Mt. Washington Observatory mascot, Nin the cat, passed away… now they lose the claim to world’s fastest wind. What’s next? Taxes on booze? We can only hope the string of bad luck stops short of that!
Well, despite losing the record, Mount Washington is still an outstanding peak, and still has some of the most extreme weather on the planet. It can be exceptionally dangerous, and beautiful, at the same time. Climbing it on a harsh winter day several years ago remains one of my favorite adventure experiences.