By Nathan Ham
High winds once again ravaged the High Country on Sunday and for the second time in February, Grandfather Mountain set a new wind speed record at the Mile High Swinging Bridge.
According to a Facebook post from Grandfather Mountain, a three-second wind gust of 124 MPH was registered on the weather recording station located at the bridge. This wind gust broke the previous record which was set less than two weeks ago on February 13 of 121.3 MPH.
The winds continued to howl all night and into this morning with a wind gust later of 122.3 MPH recorded around 2 a.m. and then another huge wind gust of 118.7 MPH recorded at 7 a.m. this morning. At least one triple digit wind gust has been recorded since 9 p.m. Sunday night through 9 a.m. Monday morning.
Winds caused numerous trees to come down and several power outages across the High Country. According to Blue Ridge Energy, almost 2,800 members lost power on Sunday with over 120 different locations suffering damage from downed trees or downed power lines. As of 10 a.m., power has been restored to all but 70 customers in Ashe County, 33 customers in Avery County and 5 customers in Watauga County.
A High Wind Warning from the National Weather Service will remain in effect until noon on Monday. Gusts in Boone, Blowing Rock, West Jefferson and Linville have all ranged from 50-65 MPH since Sunday afternoon.
The weather for the rest of the week will stay relatively dry until Thursday, according to Ray’s Weather Center. Tuesday is expected to be the nicest day of the week with lots of sunshine and high temperatures reaching the mid 50s. Clouds roll back in on Wednesday with highs still in the mid 50s. Rain returned to the forecast for Thursday with a high of 55 degrees and on Friday temperatures drop back into the upper 40s with light rain throughout the day.