A gust of 209 mph was recorded atop a California peak on Sunday, a potential record that wowed forecasters monitoring a cold storm moving south through the state.
The blast of wind was captured around 7:45 a.m. by an instrument at 9,186 feet on Kirkwood Mountain south of Lake Tahoe, said National Weather Service forecaster Alex Hoon.
He and his colleagues at the NWS office in Reno, Nevada watched in surprise as wind speeds across the crest of the Sierra Nevada hit 150 mph and kept rising.
“It went up and up,” Hoon said. It could take months for state climatologists to verify the record, he said.
“But the way that the winds did ramp up, it looks legitimate,” Hoon said. “It’s an exciting moment for sure.”
The previous record was a gust of 199 mph at Ward Mountain west of Lake Tahoe on Nov. 16, 2017.
The storm that caused widespread in flooding last week in Washington and Oregon brought a strong cold front to California, but not much rain or snow.
Waves topping 5 feet were recorded on Lake Tahoe, where air temperatures dipped below freezing.
The same system could bring light drizzle to the red carpet at the Academy Awards Sunday evening in Los Angeles.
After further review the 209 mph wind gust reported at Kirkwood seems questionable. The station seems to have multiple errors including 92 percent relative humidity during the strong winds. Also the wind seems to have been unusually strong the past few days at this station #cawx
— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) February 9, 2020
Kirkwood now gusting 209 MPH! This could potentially be a new California state record wind speed if verified! https://t.co/WeWzntYjLt
— NWS Reno (@NWSReno) February 9, 2020
Due to strong and increasing winds across the mountain (gusts as high as 209 mph) Kirkwood will be CLOSING FOR THE DAY to ensure guest and employee safety. Dining locations will remain open for guests and staff staying in the valley.
— Kirkwood Mountain Resort (@KirkwoodMTN) February 9, 2020