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Name: Bruce
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Question:
Why are the winds so intense atop Mt. Washington at the White Mountains in Vermont?


Replies:
Bruce,

The high winds on Mt. Washington are the result of it's high altitude, 6288 feet, the highest in the northeastern USA (although high winds are common on many mountain tops), local topography, and storm system tracks.

Mt. Washington is part of the Presidential Range of mountains (including Mt. Adams, Mt. Washington, and Mt. Eisenhower in the northern part of the eastern edge of the White Mountains) that extend from north to south, presenting a barrier to the normal westerly winds. Air is forced over the mountains, thereby increasing the wind speed over that which occurs in the valleys below.

Mt. Washington is also near or within several common storm tracks (with accompanying higher wind speeds), including low pressure systems moving east from the Great Lakes and northeasters that drive northward along the eastern seaboard.

David R. Cook
Meteorologist
Climate Research Section
Environmental Science Division
Argonne National Laboratory


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