Widespread Regional Long Duration Damaging High Wind Event
Monday February 25, 2019

The impacts from the fierce wind storm on this day were widespread with trees and power lines blown down, some onto homes and cars, along with siding and roofs damaged, due to frequent west to northwest wind gusts in excess of 50 and at times over 60 mph through the day. Power outages throughout the region occurred as trees and branches came down on on the lines, but the outage impact could have been far greater had this event occurred with unfrozen bare ground conditions which would have allowed for many uproots. In this case, however, due to snow covered frozen ground conditions, most of the tree damage was in the form of snapped trees and branches which limited the number that came down and limited the overall number of outages. Still, 25,000 utility customers locally were without electricity at the height of the wind event during the afternoon.

Photograph contributed via Facebook by Christopher Wright
Large pine tree blown down onto a home on Morgan Street in Bennington VT
Monday February 25, 2019. No injuries were reported.
Tree into a home on Morgan Street, Bennington, VT Monday February 25, 2019


The Event

The high wind was particularly noteworthy due in part to the large geographic area impacted by it, spanning from the Great Lakes states and Midwest including Wisconsin and Michigan on south through Indiana, Ohio, western Pennsylvania and western New York on Sunday February 24.  Damaging wind gusts then spread east throughout eastern New York, eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New England through Monday February 25.  Duration and the magnitude of the high winds were also particularly noteworthy with gusts at times locally ranging from 50-69 mph through approximately a twenty four hour period from roughly midnight to 11pm on the 25th. In this period a record setting 61 mph gust at Albany occurred. Strong winds also continued through the 26th as well but with gust magnitudes generally much lower from 35-45 mph at times, mainly in the Mohawk valley, Capital Region, Taconics, and the Berkshires.  

The following three tables are observations from the CBS6 Freihofer’s weather sensors at Amsterdam, Pittsfield, MA, and Schenectady illustrating both the high frequency and long duration of the high magnitude gusts at each location. I've listed all measured gusts of 50 mph or greater that occurred on the 25th. NOTE: Because these sensors, with the exception of Amsterdam, are located at elevations far higher than the standard of 30’ for measuring winds, the gusts are a bit higher than what would have been experienced at ground level and would not be included in an official climate database.  However, the measurements are a good indicator of wind gust speeds at tree top level and higher and explains why many trees, especially pines which offered more wind resistance, were snapped. 

Amsterdam - Montgomery County: Sensor located 35' above ground level
All Gust Measurements of 50 mph or Higher
Gust Measurement
Time of Gust
51 mph
12:51am
52.5 mph
1:05am
56.3 mph
3:39am
51 mph
5:11am
66.6 mph
6:33am
55.3 mph
7:05am
50.8 mph
7:06am
51.8 mph
7:21am
55.9 mph
7:22am
51.6 mph
7:47am
63.2 mph
9:21 am
50.8 mph
10:30am
52.5 mph
10:33am
55.4 mph
11:40am
56.9 mph
12:34 pm
51.9 mph
12:40pm
55.2 mph
12:51pm
53.1 mph
1:51pm
58.0 mph
2:03 pm
50.5 mph
2:07pm
51.2 mph
2:08pm
50.8 mph
2:12pm
56.7 mph
2:17pm
51.9 mph
2:30pm
53.2 mph
2:35pm
52.7 mph
2:50pm
50.1 mph
3:05pm
57.5 mph
4:26pm

Pittsfield, MA - Sensor located 70' above ground level in downtown Pittsfield, MA
All Gust Measurements of 50 mph or Higher
Gust Measurement
Time of Gust
50.8 mph
8:47am
56.1 mph
8:52am
54.1 mph
10:00am
59.9 mph
10:46am
63.6 mph
11:01am
50.0 mph
11:41am
68.9 mph
11:59am
71.0 mph
12:19pm
54.2 mph
12:25pm
50.7 mph
12:36pm
55.2 mph
12:37pm
62.1 mph
12:39pm
50.9 mph
1:06pm
71.4 mph
1:23pm
55.1 mph
1:31pm
57.6 mph
1:44pm
52.3 mph
1:48pm
62.0 mph
1:58pm
52.3 mph
2:19pm
55.9 mph
2:37pm
50.3 mph
4:00pm
53.2 mph
4:01pm
53.7 mph
4:03pm
56.5 mph
4:15pm
50.8 mph
8:06pm
53.2 mph
8:57pm

Schenectady - Sensor located 100' above ground level on the roof of the MVP building on State Street
All Gust Measurements of 50 mph or Higher
Gust Measurement
Time of Gust
52.7 mph
8:10am
57.1 mph
8:11am
54.9 mph
9:46am
57.0 mph
10:33am
69.5 mph
10:36am
68.6 mph
12:23pm
56.6 mph
1:58pm
50.6 mph
2:21pm
73.6 mph
2:28pm
51.4 mph
2:42pm
51.8 mph
2:44pm
57.3 mph
4:04pm
57.3 mph
4:05pm
55.6 mph
4:20pm
57.9 mph
4:39pm
50.7 mph
4:53pm
51.6 mph
5:18pm
51.2 mph
5:24pm
57.4 mph
6:33pm
56.4 mph
10:18pm

The 61 mph wind gust that was observed at 3:10pm at Albany broke the daily 24 hour record of 53 mph set on February 25, 1996 and also broke the record for all time highest February wind gust which was previously 60 mph set on February 17, 2006. The 61 mph gust also broke the all time highest wind gust record for meteorological winter at Albany (the months of December, January, and February) and was also the strongest wind gust in the period of record between the months of September through April since 1987. Further, the highest sustained wind speed observed at Albany from the west was 47 mph, making this a rare and historic level wind event for not only Albany but for the entire region.

It needs to be noted for comparison that on February 17, 2006, the 60 mph wind gust that was observed at the Albany airport occurred in a convective line with a brief momentum transfer of strong wind aloft down to the surface in a quick downburst, what typically happens in spring and summer severe thunderstorms. There were no convective lines in this case, however, with the primary mechanisms responsible for the prolonged high wind being a downward momentum transfer of strong wind from aloft due to low static stability in the first few thousand feet of the boundary layer, which allowed for a more prolonged period of deep overturning in the lower layers of the atmosphere which effectively brought down strong wind from aloft to the surface in frequent, vs. brief gusts in excess of 50-60 mph. In fact, only a few minutes before the peak 61 gust at Albany occurred, a 60 mph gust was also measured at 2:48pm.

For reference, the strongest wind gust on record at Albany to date is 82 mph set on May 31, 1998 and was associated with an F-1 tornado moving through the airport at the time. The runner up gust at Albany is 77 mph which occurred on July 15, 1995 as the super derecho moved through during the early morning hours.

Temperature, Dewpoint and Wind Plot For Albany, Monday February 25, 2019

TIME
TEMPERATURE
DEWPOINT
WIND DIR/SPEED- Weather
12am-25th
38
26
West 15 mph
1am
37
25
West 13 mph
2am
36
22
West 13 G 30 mph
3am
35
22
West 13 G 26 mph
4am
34
19
West 26 G 37 mph
5am
33
20
West 16 G 25 mph
6am
30
24
NW 5 mph
7am
32
17
West 20 G 28 mph
8am
31
13
West 17 G 33 mph
9am
31
12
West 20 G 38 mph
10am
32
12
West 38 G 49 mph
11am
31
13
West 31 G 40 mph
12pm
31
13
West 30 G 49 mph
1pm
32
13
West 30 G 44 mph
2pm
32
13
West 29 G 43 mph
3pm
31
13
West 36 G 60 mph
4pm
31
14
West 21 G 51 mph
5pm
29
13
West 30 G 49 mph
6pm
28
14
NW 20 G 38 mph
7pm
28
14
West 24 G 47 mph
8pm
27
13
NW 23 G 41 mph
9pm
26
14
West 24 G 41 mph
10pm
26
12
West 25 G 38 mph
11pm
25
13
West 25 G 43 mph
12AM-26th
24
13
West 23 G 41 mph

Peak Gust Wind Measurements From Across The Region - Feb. 25, 2019
(NYSM = New York State Mesonet)
(CBS6= Freihofer's weather sensors)

Town County Peak Gust Time of Gust
Pittsfield, MA (ASOS) Berkshire 66 mph 1:54pm
North Adams, MA Berkshire 66 mph 12:52pm
Adams, MA Berkshire 69 mph 12:01pm
Williamstown, MA Berkshire 66 mph 1:15pm
East Windsor, MA Berkshire 60 mph 3:10pm
Peru, MA Berkshire 60 mph 3:00pm
Sheffield, MA Berkshire 51 mph 3:30pm
       
Albany (ASOS) Albany 61 mph 3:10pm
Albany (ASOS) Albany 60 mph 2:48pm
Voorheesville (NYSM) Albany 57 mph 5:05pm
Preston Hollow (NYSM) Albany 50 mph 1:45pm
       
Kinderhook (NYSM) Columbia 48 mph 2:50pm
Copake (NYSM) Columbia 42 mph 12:50pm
       
1 M. WNW Prattsville (NYSM) Delaware 63 mph 11:30am
       
Broadalbin Fulton 51 mph 11:45am
Johnstown Fulton 51 mph 1:19pm
       
Tannersville (NYSM) Greene 38 mph 5:05pm
Cairo Greene 60 mph 5:00pm
       
Piseco (NYSM) Hamilton 46 mph 1:15pm
Indian Lake (NYSM) Hamilton 41 mph 4:15pm
       
Hessville Montgomery 69 mph 7:39pm and 12:31pm
Canajoharie (NYSM) Montgomery 56 mph 1:30pm
Tribes Hill (NYSM) Montgomery 51 mph 1:50pm
Amsterdam (CBS6) Montgomery 67 mph 6:33am
Sprakers (NYSM) Montgomery 58 mph 1:30pm
East Springfield (NYSM) Montgomery 69 mph 1:35pm
       
Cheery Valley (NYSM) Otsego 65 mph 1:42pm
Laurens (NYSM) Otsego 54 mph 8:25am
       
Herkimer (NYSM) Herkimer 54 mph 12:30pm
Cold Brook (NYSM) Herkimer 52 mph 2:10pm
Old Forge (NYSM) Herkimer 41 mph 1:10pm
       
Hoosick Falls Rensselaer 56 mph 1:01pm
Castleton-on-Hudson Rensselaer 52 mph 3:45pm
5 Miles ESE of Waterford Rensselaer 56 mph 1:55pm
Troy (CBS6) Rensselaer 54 mph 4:11pm
Stephentown (NYSM) Rensselaer 59 mph 3:05pm
       
Edinburg (NYSM) Saratoga 45 mph 3:20pm
       
Schenectady Schenectady 58 mph 1:15pm
Sch'dy (CBS6-100' AGL) Schenectady 74 mph 2:28pm
Mariaville (NYSM) Schenectady 57 mph 3:10pm
Schenectady Airport Schenectady 55 mph 4:47pm
Glenville Schenectady 55 mph 4:53pm
Niskayuna (CBS6) Schenectady 51 mph N/A
Duanesburg (NYSM) Schenectady 63 mph 3:10pm
       
Cobleskill Schoharie 56 mph 12:15pm
       
Phoenicia Ulster 43 mph 1:45pm
       
Bolton Landing Warren 49 mph 1:50pm
Lake George (CBS6) Warren 47 mph 11:07am
Glens Falls (ASOS) Warren 46 mph 4:19pm
       
Woodford State Park, VT Bennington 60 mph

12:00pm

Bennington, VT Bennington 51 mph 11:59am
       
Rutland, VT (ASOS) Rutland 49 mph 3:21pm
Wells, VT Rutland 69 mph 2:29pm
Shrewsbury, VT Rutland 52 mph 3:53pm
East Wallingford, VT Rutland 48 mph 3:57pm
Mount Mansfield Lamoille 118 mph 7:05pm
Danby, VT Rutland 40 mph 12:56pm
       
Whiteface Mtn. Observatory Essex 107 mph 4:45pm

Peak wind gust observations, Monday February 25, 2019

Honorable Mention - Mount Washington, NH: An astounding 171 mph, peak gust occurred in this event at the observatory setting a new February monthly record. Also, a peak one hour average wind of 138 mph was observed ranking February 25, 2019 as the 8th windiest day on record for the observatory. The strongest gust (to date) measured on Mount Washington is 231 mph observed on April 12, 1934

SETUP - CAUSE
Low pressure, responsible for snow in southern California and Las Vegas, as well as record snows at Flagstaff, AZ Thursday and Friday February 21-22, ejected out of the desert southwest through the weekend, explosively intensifying as it tracked through the Great Lakes states through Sunday the 24th, then through SE Canada on the 25th.  The storm was a land bomb in that its central pressure dropped over a millibar an hour for 24 hours in a cycle of rapid deepening.  The intensification caused a very tight pressure gradient both at the surface and aloft to develop over the Midwest and Northeast which largely drove the damaging wind event that began in most areas with the passage of the storm’s primary and secondary cold fronts.

Locally, a high wind warning went into effect at 7pm Sunday February 24 and continued through 7pm Monday February 25, with a wind advisory for much of the region from 7pm on the 25th through 3:30am on the 26th.


Local High Wind Warning coverage, February 25, 2019


Initially, wind impacts across the local area were not significant at the start of the warning period Sunday evening in most areas with only a brief burst of 35-50 mph gusts with the passage of a cold front Sunday evening.  It would take until the early to mid morning on the 25th for the wind to begin roaring which it did as the air aloft cooled more rapidly than at the surface setting up fairly steep low level lapse rates allowing deeper mixing of the boundary layer atmosphere which allowed a downward momentum transfer of a well aligned deep layer of powerful winds aloft, up to 75 knots at 5000' above ground level. The result was a steady ramping up of the winds through the morning and the afternoon as mixing through deeper layers of the lower atmosphere increased.

It's interesting to note that wind gusts could very well have been even stronger in this event had skies been completely clear and the ground free from snow as the heating from the sun would have produced higher surface temperatures during the day, offsetting somewhat the cold air that was flowing into the region. This would have increased the level of mixing and allowed even stronger gusts to be brought down to the surface. In this case, however, there was considerable lake effect cloudiness and widespread flurries and some heavier snow showers throughout the region during both the morning and afternoon (Blizzard warning for Herkimer County through the day due to low visibility in blowing snow) with only occasional intervals of sunshine and surface temperatures in the Capital Region hovering only around 30° to 31°, which to some degree did limit the depth of the mixing. Gusts, however, were still exceptional given the fact that strong winds of better than 45 knots were in a layer only about 2000' above ground level coupled with the fact the flow was west to northwest, which is a favorable direction allowing the Mohawk valley to effectively channel the wind and thus increase the gust potential in that corridor through the Capital Region into the Taconics and Berkshires. Outside of this channel, peak wind gusts were somewhat lighter, generally ranging from 45-50 mph on average.

Deep atmospheric mixing continued on Tuesday the 26th with gusts in the Mohawk valley, Capital Region and into the Berkshires ranging from 35-45 mph at times finally subsiding after sunset due to the pressure gradient finally relaxing and the mixing level dropping.

Wind Damage Reports - Monday February 25, 2019
Note: These reports are used by the National Weather to verify the High Wind Warning that was in effect and are therefore only a sampling of the wind damage that occurred, not a complete list

Town
County Wind Damage Report Time of Damage
Cambridge Washington Tree blown down on County Route 59 3:06am
Johnstown Fulton Trees and wires blown down 6:23am
Kerhonkson Ulster US Highway 44 closed at Laurel Hollow Rd. due to a downed tree 6:30am
Amsterdam Montgomery Measured 67 mph wind gust 6:33am
Hessville Montgomery Measured 69 mph wind gust 7:39am
East Springfield Montgomery Measured 69 mph wind gust 7:55am
Frankfort Herkimer Wires blown down on Route 5 8:30am
Adams, MA Berkshire Measured 58 mph wind gust 8:30am
Long Lake Hamilton Wires blown down 8:30am
North Adams, MA Berkshire Measured 58 mph wind gust 9:06am
Chatham Columbia Trees and wires blown down 9:14am
Salem Washington Tree and pole down on wires on County Route 64 9:22am
Otis, MA Berkshire Tree and wires down on Algerie Road 9:23am
Otis, MA Berkshire Tree down with wires on Route 8 9:46am
Pittsfield, MA Berkshire Measured 61 mph wind gust 9:54am
Rensselaer Rensselaer Concession stand roof blown off at the Rensselaer Little League field 10:00am
Huletts Landing Washington Tree and wires blown down on Lands End Rd. 10:15am
Lake Katrine Ulster Flagpole snapped by the wind 10:30am
Copake Columbia Trees and wires blown down 10:40am
Philmont Columbia Tree and wire down on Route 217 11:00am
Stark Herkimer Barn blown down with debris on Jordanville Road in the town of Stark 11:05am
Fort Ann Washington Tree down on Hadlock Pond Road 11:14am
Adams, MA Berkshire Measured 58 mph wind gust 11:16am
Eagle Bridge Washington Wires blown down on County Route 68 in White Creek 11:20am
Williamstown, MA Berkshire Aluminum siding blown off a house on Simonds Road 11:28am
Philmont Columbia Trees and wires blown down 11:30am
North Adams, MA Berkshire Measured 58 mph wind gust 11:32pm
Cambridge Washington Tree and wires blown down onto South Union Street 11:35am
Philmont Columbia Down pole and wires on NY 217, both lanes blocked 11:48am
Chatham Columbia Trees and wires blown down 11:49am
Fort Ann Washington Tree blown down onto power lines on Buttermilk Falls Road 12:11pm
Hudson Columbia Trees and wires blown down 12:34pm
North Adams, MA Berkshire Measured 66 mph wind gust 12:52pm
White Creek Washington Tree and wires blown down onto Niles Road in White Creek 1:02pm
Philmont Columbia Trees and wires blown down 1:03pm
Lakeville, CT Litchfield Measured 62 mph wind gust 1:04pm
Stottville Columbia Trees and wires blown down 1:11pm
Hillsdale Columbia Trees and wires blown down 1:12pm
Stottville Columbia Additional trees and wires blown down 1:23pm
Hudson Falls Washington Wire blown down on Mosher Hill Road 1:24pm
Johnstown Fulton Wires blown down 1:26pm
Sprakers Montgomery Measured 58 mph wind gust 1:30pm
Granville Washington Wire blown down on County Rt. 12 1:31pm
East Springfield Montgomery Measured 69 mph wind gust 1:35pm
Hagaman Montgomery Tree blown down on Lansing Street, blocking lanes 1:45pm
Valatie Columbia Trees and wires blown down on Pinto Ranch Rd. 1:47pm
Pittsfield, MA Berkshire Measured 66 mph wind gust 1:54pm
Altamont Albany Tree fell onto a vehicle, no injuries 1:58pm
Bennington, VT Bennington Tree and wires down on Strohmaier Rd 2:00pm
Delmar Albany Tree down near Kenwood Ave. and Orchard St. 2:14pm
Salem Washington Tree and wires blown down on Binninger Rd, wires reported on fire 2:15pm
Cambridge Washington Tree down on Turnpike Rd 2:18pm
Westmere Albany Road sign blown down near Western Ave. and Fuller Road 2:20pm
Delmar Albany Tree blown down on Oakwood Rd 2:21pm
Guilderland Albany Tree blown down onto a house on Wormer Road, no injuries 2:23pm
Colonie Albany Tree blown down near Central Ave. and Fern Ave. 2:23pm
New Lebanon Columbia Tree and wires blown down on Route 9 2:24pm
North Easton Washington Tree on wires on St. Canvinette Way 2:25pm
Voorheesville Albany Tree blown down on Normanskill Rd 2:26pm
Chatham Columbia Tree and wires blown down along Route 66 2:27pm
Bennington, VT Bennington Large tree blown onto a home 2:30pm
Argyle Washington Tree blown down on County Route 47 2:34pm
Albany Airport Albany Measured 60 mph wind gust 2:48pm
Colonie Albany Downed pole on Route 5 between Reber St. and New Karner Rd. Route 5 closed 2:57pm
Hudson Columbia Trees and wires blown down on Michael CT and Harry Howard Ave. 2:58pm
Peru, MA Berkshire Measured 60 mph wind gust (1900' elevation) 3:00pm
Chatham Columbia Tree and wires blown down on Austerlitz St. and Jones Ave. 3:03pm
Stephentown Rensselaer Measured 59 mph wind gust 3:05pm
Albany Airport Albany Measured 61 mph wind gust 3:10pm
Duanesburg Schenectady Measured 63 mph wind gust 3:10pm
East Windsor, MA Berkshire Measured 60 mph wind gust 3:10pm
Colonie Albany Downed pole with wires on Central Ave. between Route 155 and Vly Rd. Central Avenue closed in that area for an extended period of time 3:15pm
Gloversville Fulton Tree blown down on Route 30 between Steele Ave. and South Kingsbury Ave. 3:16pm
Watervliet Albany Part of a roof blown off of a residence on 3rd Ave. 3:18pm
Colonie Albany Tree down on wires on Denison Road 3:23pm
Jefferson Schoharie Tree and wires blown down on North Road 3:30pm
Clarksville Albany Tree and wires blown down on Clipp Road 3:34pm
Stuyvesant Columbia Trees and wires blown down on route 9J and Riverview Street 3:46pm
East Berne Albany Tree and wires blown down on Woodstock Rd. 3:47pm
Stottville Columbia Trees and wires blown down on Philo Road 3:54pm
Rotterdam Schenectady Tree snapped and fell on a house with damage to the roof 4:38pm
Stratford Fulton Trees and wires blown down 4:45pm
Hudson Falls Washington Tree blown down on County Route 41 in Kingsbury 4:47pm
Granville Washington Wires down and wrapped around a pole on County Route 12 4:58pm
Cairo Greene Measured 60 mph wind gust 5:00pm
Colonie Greene Tree blown down on Lisha Kill Road near Albany Street and Central Avenue 5:00pm
Hopewell Junction Dutchess Roof partially blown off a firehouse 5:00pm
Frankfort Herkimer Route 5 in the vicinity of Carder Lane Rd. closed due to downed wires 8:21pm

Route 71 on the New York/MA line in Alford, MA - Berkshire County - Photo Credit Jim Meehan - WeatherNet 6

Tree into a home on Morgan Street, Bennington, VT Monday February 25, 2019