A sonde measured momentary winds at the surface of 193mph at 6:24pm EDT
Posted by Chris in Tampa
on 9/19/2017, 8:45 pm
Average Wind Over Lowest Available 150 geopotential meters (gpm) of the sounding:
- Lowest 150m: 158 gpm - 8 gpm (518 geo. feet - 26 geo. feet)
- Wind Direction: 320° (from the NW)
- Wind Speed: 158 knots (182 mph)
They probably use more sondes than they used to, and they are probably built better, but just off hand searching through some of the most powerful storms, I haven't found a surface wind that high measured. Not in Wilma, Patricia (2015, East Pacific) or any of the others I've looked at so far. There have been higher winds above the surface in significant levels from other storms. For this storm the highest value on the way down, as the sonde dropped through the atmosphere, was 173 kts (199.1 mph).
For comparison, for Irma:
Surface: 161 kts (185.3 mph)
And on the way down the highest value was 199 kts (229.0 mph) for Irma.
Again, these are momentary winds, not 1 minute sustained. Likely just a fraction of a second at each level.
It's not that this storm has higher winds than Patricia for example, it's just that the winds were estimated by SFMR. Sondes missed measuring the highest winds in these powerful storms.
I might write a quick program to search through all the sonde data since 1989 to see where this ranks.
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