Experts didn't trust Earth's fastest wind speed datum because it was so extreme

Randi Mann
·4 min read
Experts didn't trust Earth's fastest wind speed datum because it was so extreme
Experts didn't trust Earth's fastest wind speed datum because it was so extreme

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On Wednesday, April 10, 1996, Barrow Island, which is off the coast of western Australia, measured the highest wind speed ever recorded on Earth (not including tornadoes).

Tropical Cyclone Olivia battered the tiny island with winds as high as 407 km/h. This beat the previous record from April 12, 1934, when 372 km/h winds were recorded at the 6,288-foot summit of Mount Washington, in Washington, N.H.

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On the Australian island, the anemometer, a wind measuring tool, captured the unthinkable 407 km/h gust. The anemometer was owned by the private company Chevron, so the data wasn't made public right away.

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology didn't register the data immediately because the validity was questioned.

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It would take 14 years, but finally, the wind speed was authenticated, and it now holds the world record for the fastest non-tornado wind speed on Earth.

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On May 3, 1999, a 512 km/h gust was recorded, making it the fasted wind speed ever documented. The wind gust was a part of a tornado that destroyed an area near Oklahoma City. The F5 tornado killed 36 people and caused $1 billion worth of damage.

To learn more about the fastest wind speeds that have been recorded on Earth, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.

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