BARROW ISLAND, Australia — Scientists at the World Meteorological Organization confirmed that the 253.5 mph (408 km/h) wind gust achieved during Tropical Cyclone Olivia on April 10, 1996 sets the new world record for the Highest surface wind speed.
The previous world record for the Highest surface wind speed was of 372 km/h, registered in April 1934 across the summit of Mount Washington, USA.
The panel of experts (Dr. Pierre Bessemoulin, MeteoFrance and President of CCl; Dr. Tom Peterson, NOAA National Climatic Data Center; Dr. Blair Trewin, Australian Bureau of Meteorology; Dr. Jose M. Rubiera Torres, Cuban Instituto de Meteorología; Dr. John (Jack) Beven, USA National Hurricane Center; Dr. John King, British Antarctic Survey; Dr. Randy Cerveny, Arizona State University and CCl Rapporteur of Climate Extremes) came to the conclusion after an extensive review and evaluation of instrumental and statistical data.
Olivia was the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane as it roared along the northwest coast of Australia. The storm with the Highest surface wind speed injured 10 people in the mining town of Pannawonica.
Hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons are different terms for the same weather phenomenon which is accompanied by torrential rain and maximum sustained wind speeds exceeding119 kilometers per hour. A hurricane with maximum sustained wind speeds exceeding 249 km/h is referred to as Category 5.
A wind gust of 318 mph was measured by Doppler radar during a tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, in 1999. However, Doppler records are not considered official.