Grandfather Mountain Sets New Wind Gust Record Early Wednesday Morning

As a High Wind Warning remained in effect for the High Country, Grandfather Mountain set a new wind gust record.

Via social media post, Grandfather Mountain announced the new record of 121.3 mph was recorded at around 4 am. The previous mark of 120.7 mph was recorded on Friday, December 21, 2012. Previous to that the record was 114.7 mph recorded January 26, 2011.  

Sustained wind speeds reached 86.3 mph during that same 4 a.m. window on Feb. 13, and gusts continued to exceed 100 mph throughout the morning, according to Frank Ruggiero with the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.

“We were really surprised by the high winds overnight,” said Jesse Pope, president and executive director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the park. “We exceeded our all-time record, and, fortunately, sustained no damage to the park.”

In comparison, Mt. Mitchell recorded a gust of 77.6 mph during the same timeframe, according to data from the N.C. Climate Office.

Weather Reporting

The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation records and reports data in three different ways:

  • The park maintains an automated weather station at the top of the Mile High Swinging Bridge. The N.C. Climate Office assists the foundation in calibrating the machines and ensuring overall accuracy of data.
  • Grandfather Mountain has been an active member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Cooperative Observer Program since 1955 by reporting daily temperature, precipitation and weather events from a location near the Mile High Swinging Bridge.
  • Park naturalists also record and report daily precipitation totals from the Nature Museum and Entrance Gate to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS).

With rare exceptions, the temperature will be 10 to 20 degrees cooler at Grandfather Mountain than in the flatlands below. The average rate is 2.2 degrees per 1,000 feet, meaning that for each thousand feet gained, the air is 2.2. degrees cooler.

For more information on Grandfather Mountain’s weather or to access current conditions, visit www.grandfather.com.