A rip-roaring jet stream over the Atlantic is shaving considerable amounts of time off trans-Atlantic flights and battering parts of the U.K. with winds over 100 mph.
The upper level winds are cranking at speeds over 200 mph, which is supporting a potent mid-latitude cyclone in the North Atlantic that whipped up wind gusts as high as 113 mph in the U.K. on Friday morning. The U.K. Met Office writes that the gusts were recorded at relatively low-level stations. In general, the lower elevation stations record the lower wind speeds, which makes these observations all the more incredible.
According to the Met Office, the 113 mph wind gust reported at Stornoway Airport tied the strongest gust on record from February 12, 1962. In England, the gusts peaked at 75 mph at High Bradfield in South Yorkshire at 1 a.m. Friday morning.
Take care on routes across the Pennines, we've just recorded a wind gust of 93mph. Driving conditions will be tricky. Chris F
— BBC Weather (@bbcweather) January 9, 2015
Mashable’s Andrew Freedman found that the absurdly favorable tail wind in the jet stream was actually shaving an hour off flights from New York City to London:
British Airways Flight 114, a Boeing 777-200 jet, took off from JFK at 10:50 p.m. ET, and landed at 9:06 a.m. local time, taking just five hours 16 minutes to make a trip that typically takes more than six hours.
At one point, according to Flight Aware, the jet was traveling at a groundspeed, which is the speed at which the plane is traveling relative to ground level, of 745 miles per hour. For comparison, the speed of sound at sea level is 761 miles per hour.
Of course, flying in the other direction will probably take an hour longer.