Documentation and verification of the world extreme wind gust record: 113.3 m s–1 on Barrow Island, Australia, during
passage of tropical cyclone Olivia
This paper details the event, recording instrumentation, and verification of a new world extreme three-second average wind gust record of 113.3 m s–1, measured
on Barrow Island, Australia, during the passage of tropical cyclone Olivia in April 1996, and the public and media reaction to that verification. This record supersedes
the previous extreme of 103.3 m s–1 measured at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire, USA, in April 1934. Members of a World Meteorological
Organization evaluation committee critically reviewed the data of the Olivia event, determined the Barrow Island wind measurement was valid and established the record. With the announcement of the record, interesting public reaction has occurred and is discussed, as well as the concept of more detailed classification of wind extremes. Although Olivia now holds the record for having the highest wind gust ever measured, this record doesn’t imply that Olivia is the
most intense cyclone recorded. However, planners should be aware that extreme gusts well above the ‘typical’ gusts quoted on the intensity scale are possible for
tropical cyclones, particularly for category 4 and 5 tropical cyclones.