Tuesday, January 29, 2013

All Wrapped Up

Last week's clipper that brought an inch of snow to Cape May and to Lewes intensified into a powerhouse low pressure center in the Atlantic over the weekend. At its peak on Saturday morning, the storm system intensified to 932 mb, which was a lower pressure than that recorded during Sandy. In fact, the storm system experienced bombogenesis between Friday and Saturday with its pressure dropping upwards 55 mb in a 24 hour window.

55 mb is impressive and among the greatest pressure drops on record but does not compare to Wilma's 98 mb drop in a day's time in 2005.  Still really impressive though.

The North Atlantic (and North Pacific for that matter) can be the meteorological brewing ground for some rather potent winter storms thanks to their relatively milder waters and the fusion of cold air from the arctic,  helping create storm systems that can reach some rather low pressures.  Getting a sub 940 mb storm is unusual, though, but not unprecedented in the North Atlantic.  It also happens in the North Pacific as well.

A 930 mb storm is getting into rarefied air of sorts -- its pressure lower than Hugo's at landfall and over 25 mb lower than the 1993 Superstorm at its most potent.  However, it's not the strongest North Atlantic winter storm on record.   There have been at least six others that outdid this lowly clipper in terms of intensity.  The strongest of these was in January 1993 in the North Atlantic, a storm that bottomed out at 913 mb!

This storm system has since weakened, grazing the UK on Sunday but still missing them by several hundred miles.