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Powerful gust in Guam breaks record

Jan 1, 2003

Weather scientists at the Mount Washington Observatory were saddened but undoubtedly impressed by the 236-mph gust of wind that was reported on the Pacific island of Guam in December.

The powerful gust was recorded at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam on December 17 during Typhoon Paka.

If the report is trueapparently there is some doubt about whether the anemometer that recorded the tremendous gust was accurate or even functionalthe venerable record of 231 mph that was set on April 12, 1934, on top of Mount Washington would be beaten.

Weather experts at the Mount Washington Observatory have always carried the record as a feather in their cap. The New Hampshire site is still considered to have the worst weather on Earth. "Guam hasn't seen 47° below, and their snowfall is slight, if any," said a jokingly disgruntled Peter Crane, the Observatory's director of programs. "Here, the annual snowfall is 21 feet. Even if we have to pass on the [wind] record, this is where the world's most life-threatening weather is."

Still, Crane and his colleagues expressed light-hearted disappointment. "I'm thinking about putting on a black armband," Crane added.

The National Weather Service is investigating the validity of the claim.