Looking back at Hurricane Gustav's record 211 mph wind gust

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 04:28 AM GMT die 30o December, anno 2008

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As we look back at the weather events of 2008, perhaps the most impressive record set during the year occurred during Hurricane Gustav, which pounded Cuba as a Category 4 hurricane in August. Gustav set a new world record for highest wind gust ever measured in a hurricane. As Gustav passed over the Paso Real de San Diego meteorological station in the western Cuban province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, on the afternoon of August 30, 2008, a wind gust of 211 mph (94.4 m/s) was recorded (it was originally pegged at 212 mph, but has been "downgraded" to 211 mph after an official review by the World Meteorological Organization). The powerful winds blew down the anemometer, and it is possible that higher gusts occurred after the instrument failed. Not only is this the highest wind speed ever measured in a hurricane, it is the second highest wind gust ever measured at a non-mountain location on Earth, and is the third highest wind gust ever measured on the surface of the planet. The highest wind gust in recorded history is the amazing 253 mph reading recorded on Barrow Island, Australia, during Tropical Cyclone Olivia in 1996. The second highest wind speed ever measured was 231 mph (370 km/hr) on the top of Mt. Washington, New Hampshire, on April 12, 1934, during passage of an extratropical storm. The fourth highest wind gust on record was the 207 mph gust measured in Greenland at Thule Air Force Base on March 6, 1972. The previous highest wind gust measured in a hurricane was 186 mph at Blue Hill Observatory, Massachusetts, during the notorious 1938 "Long Island Express" hurricane.


Figure 1. Anemometer used to measure the record 211 mph gust in Hurricane Gustav. Gustav's powerful winds flattened the instrument against the roof of the observing station. Image credit: Jose M. Rubiera Torres, Instituto de Meteorologia of Cuba.

Is this a believable record?
The instrument used for the measurement in Gustav was a Dines pressure tube anemometer mounted on the roof of the weather office. According to Jose M. Rubiera Torres of Cuba's Instituto de Meteorologia, "The graph is neat and the instrument was in perfect technical working condition. The wind peaked up to 340 km/h and then the anemometer mast fell over the concrete roof of the station's building, sharply interrupting the measurement. The graph [Figure 2], shows that wind gusts were increasing at a regular pace with time, until the instrument broke down when it got to the 340 km/h mark." Dines anemometers have a proven track record of reliability, and have been used in Cuba for over 60 years. A formal committee under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) certified the record in 2009.


Figure 2. Trace of the Dines anemometer used to measure the record 211 mph gust in Hurricane Gustav. Image credit: Jose M. Rubiera Torres, Instituto de Meteorologia of Cuba.

How did such a strong gust occur?
At the time Hurricane Gustav moved over the Paso Real de San Diego meteorological station, the storm was rated a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 150 mph, gusting to 185 mph. When the peak wind gust of 211 mph was measured at 22:35 GMT, the western eyewall of Gustav was over the anemometer site, as seen on Cuban radar (Figure 3). The town of Paso Real de San Diego is at an elevation of about 40 meters, and lies 25 km inland, about 12 km south of a rugged line of mountains up to 700 meters high. The counter-clockwise flow of air around Gustav's eyewall meant that the winds arriving at Paso Real de San Diego were forced to pass over these mountains first. The mountains probably focused and accelerated the winds through gaps between the peaks, and the air accelerated further as it rushed downhill under the force of gravity. Strong downbursts due to collapsing precipitation cores inside Gustav's eyewall probably contributed to the extreme gusts. When hurricanes make landfall, the intense thunderstorm cells that comprise the eyewall sometimes collapse suddenly, sending a downward cascade of intense winds to the surface. When this rush of wind hits the ground, it spreads out in all directions, forming a strong surface wind event known as a downburst. It has been theorized that some of the extreme damage noted in Florida during Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and Hurricane Andrew in 1992 may have been associated with downbursts from collapsing eyewall thunderstorm cells. This behavior may also be responsible for some of the extreme damage in Mississippi from Hurricane Katrina. Animations of infrared satellite imagery available from the University of Wisconsin CIMSS Satellite Blog show that the eyewall of Gustav collapsed during passage over the high mountains to the north of Paso Real de San Diego, but this occurred after the world record wind gust was measured.


Figure 3. Radar image of Hurricane Gustav (top) at 22:25 GMT on August 30 2008, five minutes before the world record 211 mph hurricane wind gust was measured. The site of the Paso Real de San Diego meteorological station where the record was set is marked with a red dot. A topographic map (bottom) shows the line of mountains up to 1200 meters high that lies just north of the town. The counter-clockwise flow of air around the eye of Gustav brought the strongest winds of Gustav across the mountain range then downhill to Paso Real de San Diego. Radar image credit: Instituto de Meteorologia of Cuba. Topographic map image credit: Wikipedia.

Note: this post was updated in 2010 to reflect the official WMO review of Gustav's wind gust, plus the addition of the new World Record wind gust set in TC Olivia in 1996.

Jeff Masters

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pottery....Does it count that I was pretty drunk when I made them?
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red fish bule fish green fish pick fish yellow fish
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No, you cannot, Press. post 873.
Remember your Solemn Vows, and all that....
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4.68 inches of rain at my house in Kenner,la so far.
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....she's had me rearranging furniture all day.....I'm afraid I'm gonna wake up in the middle of the night and trip over something and hurt myself....
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i no what all play a game you no some in to pass the time
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its all good fun we should learn to laugh at and with each other
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Here we see the Main Blog near June First anxiously awaiting the First TWO of the Season.

A annual Event ,..always well attended.



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Hang in there, Severe.
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Can I put my wife on 'permanent ignore'?
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This is comprable to Tropical Storm Isodores flooding in 2002. Katrina we flooded...
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Anyone hoo ignores me, is getting ingored right back. So watch it !
And yeah, I said Ingored. So there....
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Everyone Squeeze in tight,smile and Lets get a Nice pic..Okay?

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The water is getting closer to being in my house its 3/4 up my driveway. this is serious!
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Quoting presslord:
OK....I'm ignoring orca now, too....
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
thats it iam gonna sent someone by to steal your shovel try movin the snow without it


I have to be doing something right.. I got em both :)
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Please send all meerkats to me - I have a baby kitty that keeps escaping out the door - faster than a speeding bullet - and I'm tired of digging in the banana palms for the d*(* cat!
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thats it iam gonna sent someone by to steal your shovel try movin the snow without it
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OK....I'm ignoring orca now, too....
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The Trains Rolls on here too..


NEXRAD Radar
New Orleans, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 124 NMI Link
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
Link

link to world alert map for all events



KOG, after his 6 Tim Horton's Donut
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First time I've seen a training band of thunderstorms in the NOLA area since Gustav or Ike...
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608
WGUS54 KLIX 040350
FFWLIX
LAC051-071-075-087-040645-
/O.NEW.KLIX.FF.W.0002.090104T0350Z-090104T0645Z/
/00000.0.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.OO/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
950 PM CST SAT JAN 3 2009

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NEW ORLEANS HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR...
NORTHERN JEFFERSON PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITIES OF...TIMBERLANE...METAIRIE...MARRERO...
KENNER...HARVEY...AVONDALE...
ORLEANS PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITIES OF...NEW ORLEANS...EAST NEW ORLEANS...
NORTHWESTERN PLAQUEMINES PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF BELLE CHASSE...
WESTERN ST. BERNARD PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF CHALMETTE...

* UNTIL 1245 AM CST

* AT 945 PM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR ESTIMATED
RAINFALL TOTALS OF 3 TO 4 INCHES HAVE FALLEN OVER THE THE WARNED
AREA THIS EVENING. AN ADDITIONAL 2 TO 4 INCHES OF RAIN WILL BE
POSSIBLE WITH THUNDERSTORMS CONTINUING TO MOVE ACROSS THE AREA
THROUGH MIDNIGHT.

EXCESSIVE RUNOFF FROM HEAVY RAINFALL WILL CAUSE FLOODING OF SMALL
CREEKS AND STREAMS...URBAN AREAS...HIGHWAYS...STREETS AND UNDERPASSES
AS WELL AS OTHER DRAINAGE AREAS AND LOW LYING SPOTS.

DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE
ROADWAY. THE WATER DEPTH MAY BE TOO GREAT TO ALLOW YOUR CAR TO CROSS
SAFELY. MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND.

A FLASH FLOOD WARNING MEANS THAT FLOODING IS IMMINENT OR OCCURRING.
IF YOU ARE IN THE WARNING AREA MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND IMMEDIATELY.
RESIDENTS LIVING ALONG STREAMS AND CREEKS SHOULD TAKE IMMEDIATE
PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS
SWIFTLY FLOWING WATERS OR WATERS OF UNKNOWN DEPTH BY FOOT OR BY
AUTOMOBILE.

LAT...LON 2969 8950 2972 8954 2971 8958 2976 9013
2983 9015 2990 9025 3001 9027 3005 9001
3012 8986 3008 8970 3002 8972 3004 8981
2999 8983 2995 8979 2997 8971 2992 8972
2989 8969 2990 8959 3000 8957 2991 8941
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
orca be good or we will sent u another 3 feet of snow

lol


Owwwww.. thats mean.. I am going to find a picture for you now.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Can you imagine how infrequently the blog updates for you-know-who with most of the regulars ignored? He probably sees a new comment posted once every 6 hours.



You're on a roll today atmo ;)
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orca be good or we will sent u another 3 feet of snow

lol
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Link

link to world alert map for all events ok link works now missed a letter
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Quoting MichaelSTL:


Stop making fun of me; I am ignoring everybody who does so, starting with you and zoomiami (845).





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Can you imagine how infrequently the blog updates for you-know-who with most of the regulars ignored? He probably sees a new comment posted once every 6 hours.
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It hasn't been this good in a while - better than comedy night.
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Quoting atmoaggie:


Orca makes fun of everybody, including himself.

Orca, ignore yourself.


Man .. last time I did that.. I lost myself for days.. Now I just ban myself for 24 hours.. its easier
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Quoting MichaelSTL:


Stop making fun of me; I am ignoring everybody who does so, starting with you and zoomiami (845).


Thank you..
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Quoting MichaelSTL:


Stop making fun of me; I am ignoring everybody who does so, starting with you and zoomiami (845).


Orca makes fun of everybody, including himself.

Orca, ignore yourself.
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0 Zulu GFSx next Weds..Link
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Bad Stuff for a Sat Night here with Sugar Bowl Fans still around. Not much walking on Bourbon Street tonight..
Well,Almost..LOL

Tropical Isle on Bourbon Live Webcam Link
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its about time they issued one...
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846. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Earthquake Report

Magnitude 4.7 - PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION

Magnitude 4.7
Date-Time Sunday, January 04, 2009 at 02:19:25 UTC
Sunday, January 04, 2009 at 11:19:25 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 5.086N, 127.529E
Depth 20.3 km (12.6 miles) (poorly constrained)
Region PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION
Distances 285 km (175 miles) ESE of General Santos, Mindanao, Philippines
305 km (190 miles) SE of Davao, Mindanao, Philippines
1275 km (790 miles) SE of MANILA, Philippines
2625 km (1630 miles) ENE of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia
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Quoting Orcasystems:

He was stuck in a room with STL, 6 hours of lectures and graphics....


Best post of the new year - need to save this for the next time I need a laugh!
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Sounds like fun there Pat. Not........
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Orca, What, you think he had another persona on, under the dress ??
The mind boggles........
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764
WGUS54 KLIX 040331
FFWLIX
LAC089-040630-
/O.NEW.KLIX.FF.W.0001.090104T0331Z-090104T0630Z/
/00000.0.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.OO/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
931 PM CST SAT JAN 3 2009

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NEW ORLEANS HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR...
NORTHERN AND CENTRAL ST. CHARLES PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITIES OF HAHNVILLE...DESTREHAN AND NORCO

* UNTIL 1230 AM CST

* AT 924 PM CST...DOPPLER RADAR RAINFALL ESTIMATES INDICATE THAT UP
TO 4 INCHES OF RAIN HAVE FALLEN ACROSS CENTRAL AND NORTHERN AREAS OF
ST. CHARLES PARISH THIS EVENING. THUNDERSTORMS CONTINUING TO MOVE
ACROSS THE AREA ARE EXPECTED TO PRODUCE AN ADDITIONAL 2 TO 3 INCHES
OF RAIN THROUGH 1130 PM.

BE ESPECIALLY CAUTIOUS AT NIGHT WHEN IT IS HARDER TO RECOGNIZE THE
DANGERS OF FLOODING. IF FLASH FLOODING IS OBSERVED ACT QUICKLY. MOVE
UP TO HIGHER GROUND TO ESCAPE FLOOD WATERS. DO NOT STAY IN AREAS
SUBJECT TO FLOODING WHEN WATER BEGINS RISING.

A FLASH FLOOD WARNING MEANS THAT FLOODING IS IMMINENT OR OCCURRING.
IF YOU ARE IN THE WARNING AREA MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND IMMEDIATELY.
RESIDENTS LIVING ALONG STREAMS AND CREEKS SHOULD TAKE IMMEDIATE
PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS
SWIFTLY FLOWING WATERS OR WATERS OF UNKNOWN DEPTH BY FOOT OR BY
AUTOMOBILE.

LAT...LON 2982 9045 2987 9048 2989 9050 2991 9051
3001 9051 3003 9028 2986 9027 2981 9034
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Quoting zoomiami:
what did you do to the cat Orca?

Looks like he's out for blood.

He was stuck in a room with STL, 6 hours of lectures and graphics....
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840. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippines Atmospherical Geophysical Astronomical Services and Administration

Tropical Depression "AURING" has remained almost stationary as it continues to threaten Eastern Visayas.

Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #4
===============================
At 11:00 AM PhST, Tropical Depression Auring located at 10.1°N 125.6°E or 110 kms east-northeast of Surigao City has 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots.

Signal Warnings
===============

Signal Warning Number 1 (30-60 kph winds)

Visayas Region
------------
1. Northern Samar
2. Eastern Samar
3. Western Samar
4. Leyte
5. Southern Leyte
6. Biliran Island
7. Camotes Island

Mindanao Region
----------------
1. Surigao del Norte
2. Siargao Island
3. Dinagat Island
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what did you do to the cat Orca?

Looks like he's out for blood.
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New cells keep a forming to the west as TVS is noted near Lake Borgne S. Shore. Link
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Quoting pottery:
HaHaHa.
How many personas does our boy Press have, anyway ??


Depends..with or without the dress?
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I would be putting pictures up but I lost my camera charger.
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HaHaHa.
How many personas does our boy Press have, anyway ??
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The cell we just had has some realy heavy rain, loud too, the water is almost surrounding the house to the backyard.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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