An Evaluation of the Gustiness of Wind and Possible Causes on the Summit of Mount Washington, New Hampshire

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Monday, 3 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Thomas G. Padham, Mount Washington Observatory, North Conway, NH; and E. P. Kelsey

The ability to accurately predict the strength of wind gusts is extremely valuable, as wind gusts often pose the greatest risk to safety and property. This paper describes an examination of Mount Washington Observatory wind records from the summit of Mount Washington from the years 2007 through May 2013. One minute averaged winds and their corresponding peak were used to calculate gust factors, the ratio of the peak gust to the mean wind (peak/mean). The gust factors were examined for dependence on static stability and wind direction. The one minute gust factors were compared with gust factors of ten minute and hourly intervals to evaluate how the temporal resolution of the wind data impacts the magnitude of the gust factors. Winds from the south and southwest on average had the highest gust factors, likely due to influences from the Southern Presidential ridgeline and nearby buildings just to the south of the weather tower. Due to the unique location of the station and the high winds associated with it, the results of the study suggest a slightly lower gust factor than found at most valley or low elevation stations, which is consistent with previous studies.