Sunday, December 27, 2015

Massive Alaska storm tied an all-time intensity record

Original post by: Andrew Freedman Mashable December 15 2015

A gargantuan, monster storm developed off the southwest coast of Alaska from Dec. 12-14, lashing the outermost Aleutian islands with winds equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane, and producing towering waves capable of sinking large ships.
The storm, which maxed out at an intensity of about 924 millibars, in terms of its minimum central air pressure, likely tied the record for the strongest North Pacific non-tropical storm (in general, the lower the pressure the stronger the storm). According to meteorologist Jeff Halverson, writing for the Capital Weather Gang blog, this low pressure reading tied the record for the lowest wintertime pressure in the North Pacific Ocean since such records began in the winter of 1969-1970.

The previous strongest storm in this region occurred last year.

The storm resulted in an astonishingly strong wind gust to 122 miles per hour at Adak Island, Alaska, and had a large swath of hurricane-force winds. The strongest winds were associated with what's known as a "sting jet" that comes in on the backside of such a storm, enhancing winds near the surface. Scientists have only identified this feature of powerful low pressure systems in recent years.

The storm is influencing the weather across Alaska as it weakens but continues to spin off the coast. It will also help to initiate a southward movement of cooler air from northwest Canada into the northwest U.S. during the next week.

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