Mike Corthell

Mike Corthell
Editor & Publisher at Fryeburg Free Press MEDIA

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mt. Washington: World Record Wind

The Observatory - September 2012
During a wild April storm in 1934, a wind gust of 231 miles per hour (372 kilometers per hour) pushed across the summit of Mount Washington. This wind speed still stands as the all-time surface wind speed observed by man record. Below are excerpts from then-observer Alex McKenzie's book The Way It Was which accounts in detail the experience of documenting and living to tell the tale of a 231 mph wind.


Tuesday, April 10, 1934

The sun rose on April 10, 1934, ushering in a typical April day atop Mount Washington. Normally, the rest of New England welcomes the warmth of spring during a typical April, but winter keeps hold on the high peaks of New Hampshire's Presidential Range well into May in most years.
The staff at the fledgling Mount Washington Observatory, including Salvatore Pagliuca, Alex McKenzie and Wendell Stephenson managed to make it through their second full winter on the mountain. However, they were anxiously awaiting the coming of spring, with its more moderate temperatures and wind. Before the week was out, those men would not only get another severe taste of winter, they would be a part of one of the most intense storms in recorded history.
April 10 was the tight-knit summit crew's first day without Robert Stone, one of their coworkers who was injured in a skiing accident. He was taken down the mountain on a toboggan on April 9 to seek further medical attention on his severely bruised hip. Down a man, they would have to get by on their own for a while, with some help from their guests, Arthur Griffin and George Leslie.

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