The Atmosphere


What were the fastest winds ever recorded?

During a tornado strike in Moore, Oklahoma, on May 3, 1999, a wind speed of 318 miles (512 kilometers) per hour was estimated by video recordings showing debris movement. Other incredible winds include a measurement of 268 miles (431 kilometers) per hour during a tornado incident in Red Rock, Oklahoma, on April 26, 1991. Not all wind records require tornadoes, though. Mount Washington in New Hampshire is considered one of the windiest places on Earth. Winds frequently blow there at speeds exceeding 100 miles (160 kilometers) per hour, and one gust was recorded at 231 miles (372 kilometers) per hour.

The effects of the jet stream are clearly seen in this photo showing a mass of moist air being carried by high winds near the North American West Coast. (NOAA)

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