Dear Tom,

I found my grandfather’s old barometer that has a top reading of 31.00 inches. Can’t the barometer reading get higher than that?

Thanks, Bryan G. Island Lake

Dear Bryan,

It can, but it’s rare, except in polar regions. The world’s record high barometer reading is 32.25 inches recorded at Tosontsengel, Mongolia on December 29, 2004. The highest barometer reading ever recorded in the U.S. was 31.85 inches at Northway, Alaska on January 31, 1989, when record cold covered the state with readings as low as minus 76 at Tanana and minus 54 at Nome. That airmass pushed southeast into the lower 48 and brought Chicago its highest-ever barometric pressure of 30.98 inches on February 16. Extreme high pressure was observed in England in January 2020 with 31.02 inches measured at Liscombe and 30.99 inches at London’s Heathrow Airport, the highest readings in more than three centuries.