World extremes

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windiest place on Earth

commonwealth Bay, Antarctica, has recorded some of the Co consistently high wind speeds, occasionally reaching 320km/h. The highest individual gust of wind measured was 311km/h at Mount Washington, New Hampshire, USA, on 12 April 1934

Hurricane wind speed

The fastest sustained winds in a hurricane in the USA measured 322 km/h with 338 km/h gusts, on 17-18 August 1969, when Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi/Alabama coast.

Tornado wind speed Fastest 450 km/h at Wichita Falls, Texas, USA, on 2 April 1958

Hottest place on Earth Dallol in Ethiopia had an average temperature of 34.4°C during 1960-66.

Highest shade temperature recorded

Al Aziziyah, Libyan desert, 57.8°C on 13 September 1922

A temperature of 56.6°C was recorded at Greenland Ranch,

Death Valley, California, USA, on 10 July 1913,

Driest place

Atacama Desert, Chile, where average annual rainfall is officially nil (also longest drought – 400 years up to 1971), The average rainfall on the Pacific coast of Chile between Arica and Antofagasta is less than Imm.

Least sunshine At the South Pole there is no sunshine for 182 days every year, and at the North Pole the same applies for 176 days.

Coldest place

Vostok, Antarctica, -89.2°C recorded on 21 July 1983

Greatest snowfall in 12 months 31,102mm at Mt Rainier, Washington, USA, from 19 February

1971 to 18 February 1972 (this is an incredible 31m, equivalent to 17 people standing on each other's heads!)

Greatest depth of snow 11.46m at Tamarac, California, USA, in March 1911

Freak snow storm

In the Sahara Desert, Algeria, 18 February 1979

Greatest annual rainfall (annual average) Mawsynram, India, with 11,870mm a year, and Tutunendo Colombia, 11,770mm

Greatest annual rainfall (extreme example) Cherrapunji, Assam, 26,461mm between 1 August 1860 and 31 July 1861 - which is close to the length of a tennis court! Also, at the same place, the greatest in one calendar month 9,300mm - fell in July 1861, That's about the same as five people standing on each other's heads.

Most rainfall in 24 hours

Cilaos, La Réunion, Indian Ocean, 1,870mm, 15--16 March, 1952

Most rainy days in a year Mt Waialeale, Kauai, Hawaii, USA, up to 350 days a year. The total rainfall is about 11,684mm, which approaches the annual record.

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