The highest recorded non-tornadic wind speed is 253 mph, which was recorded during the tropical cyclone Olivia, a category 4 cyclone, at Barrow Island, Australia on April 10, 1996. The record was officially confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization in 2010, 14 years after it was recorded.
The previous world record for highest wind speed of 231 mph was recorded at Mount Washington in New Hampshire. It was recorded in April 1931. A Doppler weather radar recorded a wind gust with a speed of 318 mph in 1999 during an F5 tornado in Oklahoma City. However, records by Doppler radar are not considered official.Learn More
The largest hailstone ever recorded weighed 1 pound, 15 ounces; it measured 8 inches in diameter and 18.62 inches in circumference. It fell during a severe thunderstorm over the small town of Vivian, South Dakota, in 2010.Full Answer >
The widest tornado ever recorded by the National Weather Service was 2.6 miles in diameter. It occurred in El Reno, Okla., in 2013. Tornadoes this wide are quite rare, as it is difficult for tornadoes to sustain their momentum as they grow.Full Answer >
Tornado season varies depending on location, but most tornadoes appear during April, May and June. In the United States, southeastern regions tend to suffer the most tornado activity from February to April, while incidences of tornadoes in the northern Plains increase during the months of June through August.Full Answer >
Tornadoes have high wind speeds because there is an enormous pressure gradient within the funnel. As winds flow from high-pressure to low-pressure areas, the intensity of the difference in pressure leads to higher wind speeds. Strong tornadoes can reach wind speeds of up to 300 miles per hour.Full Answer >