SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — A gust of 209 mph (336 kph) was recorded atop a California peak on Sunday, a potential record that wowed forecasters monitoring a cold storm that moved south through the state dumping snow, rain and hail.
The blast of wind was captured around 7:45 a.m. by an instrument at 9,186 feet (2,800 meters) 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 (320 kph) 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.