#9: 100+ mph winds on Mt. Washington, N.H.
Pink and yellow hues paint a winter sunset from the balcony of the Mt. Washington Observatory. (Credit: mountwashington.org)
This one may be on every meteorologist's list.
If there's one location to sample extreme winds safely, and with at least some predictable regularity, it's from the relative sanctuary of the Mt. Washington Observatory in New Hampshire.
For over 80 years, dedicated meteorologists and support staff have taken regular weather observations atop the 6288-foot summit of Mt. Washington, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Behind a strong Arctic front in winter, it's common to see wind gusts exceed 100 mph, accompanied by hurricane-force sustained winds. In 1934, a 231 mph wind gust was measured here, a world record which stood until an Australian cyclone topped it by 22 mph in 1996.
For me, it's not only the extreme winds, but the beautiful accumulations of rime ice coating anything outside in these harsh conditions. I also marvel at the so-called "undercast" from dense, low-level clouds trapped in the valley below.
The Mt. Washignton Observatory is a private, non-profit scientific and educational institution. Tours are available in winter, but only by snow cat. Attempting to climb to the summit in winter is strongly discouraged.