64-knot wind gusts at San Francisco’s main airport

Here’s some unusual weather at SFO:

KSFO 142256Z 23024G38KT 3SM -RA BR FEW008 BKN029 OVC047 13/12 A2970 RMK AO2 PK WND 20044/2201 SLP058 P0000 T01330117
KSFO 142209Z 22030G44KT 2SM -RA BR FEW008 BKN012 OVC017 14/12 A2968 RMK AO2 PK WND 20044/2201 PRESRR P0000 T01440122
KSFO 142156Z 21031G45KT 3SM -RA FEW008 BKN010 BKN017 15/12 A2966 RMK AO2 PK WND 21051/2129 RAE30B47 SLP043 P0000 T01500122
KSFO 142056Z 20039G54KT 3SM -RA FEW005 BKN012 16/13 A2959 RMK AO2 PK WND 21067/2011 SLP021 P0000 60000 T01610133 51022
KSFO 142054Z 20038G53KT 3SM -RA FEW005 BKN012 16/13 A2959 RMK AO2 PK WND 21067/2011 P0000
KSFO 141956Z 20042G57KT 3SM -RA FEW005 BKN017 OVC026 17/13 A2955 RMK AO2 PK WND 19062/1945 RAB12 SLP008 P0000 T01670128
KSFO 141856Z 19043G64KT 10SM FEW005 BKN025 OVC033 18/13 A2953 RMK AO2 PK WND 19064/1849 RAE07 SLP000 P0000 T01780128
KSFO 141815Z 18032G51KT 10SM FEW006 BKN029 OVC041 18/13 A2955 RMK AO2 PK WND 17051/1801 RAE07 P0000 T01780133
KSFO 141756Z 17033G49KT 10SM -RA FEW006 BKN033 OVC046 17/13 A2957 RMK AO2 PK WND 18049/1756 RAE22B48 SLP013 P0000 60062 T01720128 10172 20133 56020
KSFO 141656Z 17022G36KT 4SM -RA FEW006 SCT023 OVC032 16/13 A2957 RMK AO2 PK WND 16038/1645 SLP014 P0001 T01610128

On March 14 at 1856 GMT (around noon local time), the wind was from the south (190) at 43 knots gusting 64 knots. What if you decide to take off into that wind on 19L or 19R? Just a few clouds at 500′, a broken layer at 2500′, and overcast at 3300′ (all elevations above the airport, but the airport is only 13′ above sea level).

I find it almost comical that the METAR for a normal day at SFO is visually almost the same as the METAR on a day when a two-seater wouldn’t even need to start the engine in order to become airborne:

KSFO 151956Z 04006KT 10SM FEW020 13/07 A3002 RMK AO2 SLP164 T01280067

Maybe the next generation of METARs should allow emojis and there should be some of people being blown off the ramp. The current wind emoji is quite weak on Windows: 🌬️

Readers: Anyone been in the Bay Area through these recent storms? What’s the on-the-ground experience?


7 thoughts on “64-knot wind gusts at San Francisco’s main airport

  1. All our multi-million dollar Mocvd machines suffered emergency shutdown when we lost power yesterday around noon, when they were running at peak 1400C. I have no more curse words to use for PG&E, our only electricity provider. We are in an area zoned for industrial. Unbelievable. It’s laughable to think $50B can rescue the chip production in the US.

  2. I just put on a mask and it protects me from winds up to 90 kts — and those winds are carrying Covid from miles away so this is important!

  3. G64… in my decade of flying in or around Silicon Valley I newer saw anything like that… wow.

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