Wind of 114 mph breaks anemometer in Montana

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The anemometer at the Choteau Airport in Montana recorded a wind gust of 114 mph on Saturday afternoon just before the instrument was destroyed by the wind. Other strong wind speeds in Montana on Saturday included gusts near 80 in Livingston and 90 near Nye.

It reminds me of when I was working on the response and recovery following Hurricane Andrew that struck south Florida in 1992. Andrew is the third most powerful hurricane to have made landfall in the United States, at least since the dawn of the 20th century. During the hurricane the anemometer at the Coastal Marine Automated Network (C-MAN) weather station at Fowey rocks recorded a peak gust of 169 mph just before it was destroyed by the wind. Another anemometer at the Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport recorded a wind speed of an estimated 130 mph before it was also destroyed.

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia about a third wind speed measurement during Hurricane Andrew:

The highest recorded surface gust, within Andrew’s northern eyewall, occurred at the home of a resident about a mile from the shoreline in Perrine, Florida. During the peak of the storm, a gust of 212 miles per hour (341 km/h) was observed before both the home and anemometer were destroyed. Subsequent wind-tunnel testing at Clemson University of the same type of anemometer revealed a 16.5% error. The observed value was officially corrected to be 177 miles per hour (285 km/h).

Hurricane Andrew incident management team
Part of the Incident Management Team assisting the south Florida National Parks following Hurricane Andrew in 1992
Thanks Dick

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “Wind of 114 mph breaks anemometer in Montana”

  1. Having been in the middle of Hurrican Andrew I will attest to the wind gusts. Much of the severe damage was caused by mini-tornados.
    But in the the end the recorded gusts caused pleanty of damage on their own. With that much wind nothing is safe. Nice to see the picture of the team, They helped save what little we had left,and got things going again, great people.


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