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Śnieżka: Home to the strongest wind gusts in the world

Śnieżka: Home to the strongest wind gusts in the world

Image source: © daniellamotte_foto / Instagram
Natalia Witulska,
07.02.2024 14:30

The strongest wind gusts in the world were recorded on Śnieżka in the Karkonosze Mountains on Monday, 5 February. On that same day, a strong gale tore off the roof of one of the mountain lodges located in the Tatra Mountains. Climatologist Marek Błaś explained the reasons for such weather in an interview with Gazeta Wyborcza.

Since the beginning of February, alerts from the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management have been circulating throughout Poland. These alerts warn of strong winds and advise citizens to be cautious by closing windows and removing unnecessary items from balconies. The aim is to ensure the safety of citizens.

On Monday, 5th February, meteorologists reported that winds reaching 125 km/h had ripped off part of the mountain lodge’s roof in the Valley of Five Polish Lakes in the Tatra Mountains. At the same time, wind speeds of up to 180 km/h were recorded at the top of the path leading to the valley.

World's strongest wind gusts in Karkonosze

When the world's most powerful wind gusts were blowing on Śnieżka, Poland was in a transition zone between a deep low-pressure system centred over Finland and a strong high across France. This resulted in the wind blowing fiercely in the Karkonosze Mountains, causing a lot of fear and anxiety among residents.

According to climatologist Marek Błaś, PhD, from the Department of Climatology and Atmospheric Protection at the University of Wrocław, a significant horizontal pressure gradient of nearly 20 hPa over Poland led to strong wind gusts exceeding 70 km/h at many stations. In addition, a jet stream in the upper and middle troposphere of Poland also contributed to the occurrence of hurricane-force winds on mountain ridges, Gazeta Wyborcza reports.

Several factors contributed to the situation on the day of the extreme weather conditions in Poland. According to Marek Błaś, there was a clash between frigid Arctic air and very warm Polar air, which resulted in a stationary front between the two masses. This front caused productive snowfall and other related phenomena.

Where did strong winds come from?

Strong winds occur over Poland when air masses with different temperatures collide, leading to strong cyclones and gusty winds.

Marek Błaś explains in an interview with Gazeta Wyborcza that as the pressure in the centre of the system decreases, the horizontal pressure gradient increases, leading to an increase in wind speed. Hurricane-force winds, more than 32 meters per second and 115 kilometres per hour, usually occur when deep and active lows migrate from the Atlantic over the North Sea and towards the southern part of Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea.

According to the scientist, it is not just one active centre that causes high wind speeds, but rather a group of them. These conditions can persist for several consecutive days. In another scenario, a deep and active low-pressure system over the western part of Europe can be blocked by a large high-pressure system on the continent's eastern side. This can result in an increase in the horizontal pressure gradient and cause wind gusts of over 100 km/h.

Dangerous and strong winds are expected to cease in Poland on February 7th. Isolated gusts may still occur, but they will not pose a threat.

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza

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