Weather News

Hurricane strength winds blast Bass Strait

Alex Zadnik, Tuesday July 5, 2011 - 15:03 EST

A deep low pressure system brought wild winds to southeastern Australia on Tuesday, with
Bass Strait experiencing 'hurricane-strength' winds.

The Hogan Island group which lies south of Wilsons Promontory had its highest wind gust
in three years, reaching an incredible 169km/h. Average wind speeds peaked at 128km/h
(69 knots), which is 'hurricane force' on the Beaufort wind scale.

The Beaufort scale was created in 1805 by Sir Frances Beaufort and is used to categorise
wind strengths at sea. This is the basis for our current marine warnings in Australia.
'Strong Wind Warnings' are issued by the Bureau of Meteorology when average wind speeds
exceed 25 knots, 'Gale Warnings' are issued for winds above 33 knots and 'Storm Wind
Warnings' are issued when average winds hit 48 knots. When average wind speeds exceed
64 knots they are considered 'hurricane force', with the sea turned completely white with
foam and spray. These winds are rarely experienced in Australia, outside of severe tropical
cyclone activity.

Winds weren't quite as extreme through the southeastern capitals but still reached gale-
force, with gusts of over 80km/h at Melbourne Airport and 80km/h around Sydney.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2011

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