This Mountain Just Delivered an 'Exciting' Weather Event

Still-to-be-confirmed wind gust of 209mph on California's Kirkwood Mountain 'looks legitimate'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2020 8:42 AM CST

(Newser) – Winds at the Kirkwood Mountain Resort near Lake Tahoe were so strong on Sunday that the ski resort closed for the day "to ensure guest and employee safety," reports KCRA. The resort's tweet on the matter also cited a notable stat: that the wind gusts may have reached as high as 209mph. CBS News reports that number was indeed captured right before 8am Sunday by a weather gauge located more than 9,100 feet up the Alpine County mountain, and it may be a record-breaking one, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Hoon.

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Hoon said he and co-workers based in Reno, Nev., watched in awe as wind speeds passed the 150mph mark and kept going "up and up." Although he adds that state climatologists have to confirm the "exciting" number—a task he says could take months—"it looks legitimate." The previous California wind-gust record was 199mph, set in February 2017 at Ward Peak, also near Lake Tahoe; that number wasn't verified for nearly 10 months, notes KOLO. Another NWS meteorologist, Mark Deutschendorf, tells the station the current conditions are the result of a weather system bringing strong winds out of the northeast, which is the opposite of how winds usually sweep down on the Sierra Nevada range. (Read more high winds stories.)

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