A weather observer working at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire wanted to take advantage of the hurricane-force winds on the summit as a cold front swept through the area.
In a video shot on Nov. 10, meteorologist Tom Padham took a moment out of his day to demonstrate the power of the winds by standing against them.
On that particular day, said Padham, the wind gusts were accompanied by a record-breaking temperature as the mercury dipped to -22.7 C. The previous record for that day was -21 C.
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With the wind chill, Padham said it felt closer to -40.
“There’s an adrenaline rush from the sheer sound or noise from the wind. It’s incredibly difficult to stand in place,” said Padham.
“If it was completely steady wind, I could lean into it and it would kind of hold me up, but unfortunately the wind is never that steady in the natural world. Those fluctuations or gusts are what are going to knock you over.”
The video shows Padham eventually being knocked over as he finds a sheltered area to escape into safety.
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“We see some pretty extreme weather and it helps to have a little fun every once in a while when you’re spending a full week up here,” he said, explaining that observatory staff work and live there a week on and a week off in “unique” weather conditions.
The Mount Washington Observatory is “the windiest weather recording station in North America,” said Padham.
“One out of every five days from November to April we see 100 mile-an-hour peak gusts. So pretty much once a week in the winter we see winds pretty close to what you see in the video,” he said.