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No. 61: Jan-Feb 1989

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Unusual Gust Of Wind

Anemograph trace showing 106-mph wind gust
Anemograph trace showing 106-mph wind gust, February 7, 1988.
February 7, 1988. Near Lancaster, England

It was a day with modest winds of 5-10 mph, with some gusts to 20 mph. Suddenly at 2100 GMT, the anemometer at Hazelrigg weather station registered a gust at 106 mph. Almost immediately after, the wind dropped to only 5 mph.

A gust of this strength should have caused considerable damage. A few branches and twigs were down in a nearby wood, but the major effect seems to have been the transportation of a 75-kilogram sheep feeding trough across a distance of 5.1 meters! Conclusion: A sudden, small squall had passed through.

(Reynolds, David J.; "Unusual Gust of Wind in Lancashire 7th February 1988," Journal of Meteorology U.K., 13:284, 1988.)

Comment. The wind is really playing tricks on the English, with hundreds of mysterious circles cut into field crops and now this dislocated sheep trough. Or is it just weather?

From Science Frontiers #61, JAN-FEB 1989. � 1989-2000 William R. Corliss