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California

Potential record gust of 209 mph recorded at California peak

Wind record
Storm clouds gather over Santa Monica Bay off Manhattan Beach Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. A gust of 209 mph was recorded by an instrument on Kirkwood Mountain south of Lake Tahoe. The National Weather Service it could take months for state climatologists to verify the record.
(John Antczak / Associated Press)

A gust of 209 mph was recorded atop a California peak on Sunday, a potential record that wowed forecasters monitoring a cold storm moving south through the state.

The blast of wind was captured around 7:45 a.m. by an instrument at 9,186 feet on Kirkwood Mountain south of Lake Tahoe, said National Weather Service forecaster Alex Hoon.

He and his colleagues at the NWS office in Reno 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.

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“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 at Ward Mountain west of Lake Tahoe on Nov. 16, 2017.

The storm that caused widespread flooding last week in Washington and Oregon brought a strong cold front to California, but not much rain or snow.

Waves topping 5 feet were recorded on Lake Tahoe, where air temperatures dipped below freezing.

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The same system could bring light drizzle to the red carpet at the Academy Awards on Sunday evening.


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