On Monday night, the river of air 35,000 feet above the New York City area, known as the jet stream, clocked in to blow 231 mph. NWS Forecaster Carlie Buccola is the record of the National Weather Service in Upton, New York – breaking the old record of 223 mph.
This wind provided a turbo boost to commercial passenger planes along the ride. With the help of this rapid tailwind, Virgin Atlantic flight 8 from Los Angeles to London could be a record high speed for a Boeing 787: 801 mph over Pennsylvania at 9:20 pm. Monday night.
"Wow, that's fast," a Boeing spokesman told CBS News via email. But it's not something the plane manufacturer tracks, so they can't confirm if mph is a record.
"The cruising speed of the dreamliner is 561
mph," CBS News transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave points out. "The past record for the 787 is 776 mph set in January 2017 by a Norwegian 787-9 flying from JFK to London Gatwick. That flight set a record for the fastest subsonic transatlantic commercial airline flight – 5 hours and 13 minutes, thanks to a 202 mph tailwind. "
For reference, the speed of sound is 760 mph; but the plane did not break the sound barrier. That's because part of the plane's speed is attributed to the swiftly moving 200 mph + air surrounding the plane. So relative to the air around it, the plane's speed falls far short
Jet streams like the one Monday can have a big impact on flights.
"A 100 mph increase in the jet stream above typical can add or remove about an hour from a five to six hour flight, "according to a spokesperson from FlightAware, a global aviation software and data services company based in Houston.
likely to face westbound battling the powerful headwind. While flying in the air, affect air travel, FlightAware said changes in the upper level are accounted for.
"The estimated jet stream is accounted for in flight planning, and even before that in scheduling you'll see longer block. times outbound than eastbound, "FlightAware points out.
In the interactive map above, created by Cameron Beccario, the jet stream can be viewed (updated every three hours).
What's causing the record jet stream?  The jet jet stream was not only confined to the New York City area, it was a common theme all over the Northeast because of a unique confluence of events.
It all started in the Pacific Ocean: Just last week NOAA official El Niño in the Pacific Pacific Ocean. El Niño is a warm of the equatorial sea surface temperatures which can have repercussions thousands of miles away. It is partly responsible for the recent wicked weather in California last week.
"The last couple of weeks the atmosphere has been in a lot more El Niño-like state because it's teaming up with another natural climate phenomena known as the MJO, "said Dr. Adam Sobel, professor of applied physics at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. "The MJO is associated with clusters of thunderstorms and bursts of westerly winds."
As a result of this energetic mix, twin cyclones have formed in the central Pacific and this activity is sparing and unusually powerful sub-tropical jet stream across Mexico and the southern US
At the same time, a vigorous polar jet stream in Alaska is splitting into two branches along the Pacific Coast. One is heading east through the Great Lakes, while the other heads south into California and then turns east into the Ohio Valley.
The end result is all three jet streams – along with an assist from the polar vortex – are now merging in the Northeast. This is boosting an otherwise strong jet stream, into a record breaking one.
The moist and energetic jet stream will remain in place through the weekend. As a result, dangerous flooding is possible across parts of the Mississippi and Tennessee Valley with a widespread 5-10 inches of rain possible in some areas.  Latest 7 day rain forecast from WPC. Flooding going to be a problem. We might need another Ark built. Anyone Noah guy? pic.twitter.com/OaEXidXDSH