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View Full Version : It's windy at the top (of another mountain)



treant985
12-13-2008, 09:34 AM
I always keep an eye on White Mtn, CA, with an automated station sending in readings every 10 minutes from 14246 ft. With the changing weather pattern bringing gusts of 50+ mph to even relatively low-level spots in the west, it's really bringing some gusts to White Mtn:

http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=rev&sid=WMSRS&num=48

Check out the two peak gusts of 145.9 mph, which I believe are the second-strongest since the station started recording over five years ago. Also see how they had 125mph sustained winds for 10 minutes early this morning!

It's always a windy place (see these pages for their history http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/wea_monsum2Et.pl?stn=wmtn&mon=12&yea=08 ), but this has got to be probably the second-windiest day there since they started keeping records in 2003.

Their best had to be 10/29-10/30/2003, when they had several gusts over 150mph and averaged 100mph sustained for a 27hr stretch, something that only MWO and a station in Antarctica are known to have done (although certainly others have done so).

treant985
12-19-2008, 10:53 AM
White Mtn hit 162.4mph this morning, which I believe is their strongest gust since the station was implemented 5 years ago. They've also averaged sustained winds at 100mph for about 17 hours now.

Nearby Mt. Warren hit 155mph:

http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=vef&sid=warr&num=168&raw=0&dbn=m .

krummholz
12-19-2008, 01:33 PM
Interesting! Should we be concerned that Mt. Washington will have competition for its world record windspeed status?!

I've climbed White Mountain Peak, and I admired the famous bristlecone pines on the way up that long dirt road to the trailhead. It seems even more amazing that those trees appear to be the oldest living trees on earth--one of them more than 4,000 years old--when you consider the extremes of wind and dryness that they experience. Here is a site with information about the bristlecones:

http://www.sonic.net/bristlecone/

Bill O
12-19-2008, 02:32 PM
Interesting! Should we be concerned that Mt. Washington will have competition for its world record windspeed status?!



Yes and no.

Yes, they could easily exceed 231. No, the anemometer will not survive it.

treant985
12-19-2008, 02:58 PM
I've emailed the guy in charge of the summit research station there, to see what kind of anemometer they have. I'm sure it's better than most stations, since it has to survive the winter without any maintenance, but certainly not as accurate at the pitot at MWO (esp since the data at MWO gets adjusted and corrected).

Still, having Mt. Warren nearby also showing a gust of 150+ mph shows that the readings are probably as good as you can get for a station that's unmanned.

Another reason I'm interest in what kind of anemometer they use is so that I can see what its top tested speed is. I doubt it would be above 200mph, although I guess if it ever records something close to 231, we could always take it down and test it later for accuracy.

As of now, they've had average winds of 100 mph for 19.5 hours; hopefully they can keep it up for a few more and make it to a 24hr stretch over which the winds averaged the century mark.

treant985
12-19-2008, 03:02 PM
Also, I've put all the data from the last 5 yrs into a spreadsheet, and (going from memory, since it's on another computer), their annual average wind speed is about 20mph. So they're pretty windy but not near the ~35mph at MWO. The main reason is that White Mtn just isn't that windy during the summer, plus they tend to hit very strong gusts when fronts move through, but besides when that happens, the winds aren't exceptional.

So they probably beat MWO in terms of top gusts and top 24hr speeds, but not for average winds over any long period.

Bill O
12-19-2008, 03:13 PM
They are much farther south...and they're not at the convergence of three major storm tracks.

I bet the mountain is not nearly as smooth as Mount Washington so the wind isn't funneled up its slopes as well.

Knapper
12-19-2008, 05:33 PM
I bet the mountain is not nearly as smooth as Mount Washington so the wind isn't funneled up its slopes as well.

Being from CA and having hiked it, I can say White Mt has some similarities with Mt washington. The only thing working against it are the Sierra Nevadas to the west. If you map it though and look at pics, it is similar to us. Mt. Warren on the other hand is nothing like us and the land around it will actually work against it. It will be interesting if you get a reply as to what anemometer they are using. I know from talking to friends at the Reno office of NWS, summit wind data from automated stations is helpful but doubtful.

treant985
12-19-2008, 06:30 PM
Of course, being at elevations of about 12250 and 14250 ft respectively for Mt. Warren and White Mtn also doesn't hurt their chances of such high gusts.

When these fronts move through, Mt. Warren usually is pretty windy but nothing like White Mtn. That 155 mph gust is probably their strongest in quite some time.

It's looking like White Mtn will fall short of having 2400 miles of air movement in a 24hr period; looks like their longest stretch will be about 22 hrs.

Bill O
12-19-2008, 06:45 PM
With some searching I bet we can find a photo of the station.

If I had to guess its the kind that looks likes a little propeller, opposed to a three-cup.

treant985
12-20-2008, 12:23 AM
maybe you can tell from this photo: http://www.wmrs.edu/facilities/BAR/SUMMIT/default.htm . looks like the anemometer stuff is on the left mast.

Knapper
12-20-2008, 05:13 AM
Their Barcroft station a half mile south of the summit station has a propeller type anemometer similar to the RM Young unit we use up here in the summer or during clear days in the winter up here. It is unheated. The summit pic shows the weather instruments to the left. By the looks, it looks as though they use a Taylor anemometer and vane system similar to the ones our summit have. We no longer use these type for various reasons. But they are good for higher winds and are heated pretty well for icing conditions. Although, it should be noted that icing is not a huge issue here. In fact if I remember, their observatory has measured some of the driest atmospheric conditions of any observing station on earth.

treant985
12-20-2008, 09:42 AM
it should be noted that icing is not a huge issue here. In fact if I remember, their observatory has measured some of the driest atmospheric conditions of any observing station on earth.

Yes, their historical data has shown several days when their relative humidity reached 1%. And just this month, they've had five different days when they hit 5% humidity or lower. Their wind data will occasionally be missing, but I think that's when the solar panels don't collect much and the anemometer shuts down first, not because of icing.