Tag: extratropical cycle

Attack of the Cyclones

By Phil Plait | November 2, 2010 7:00 am

Last week, I woke up in the middle of the night to winds raging outside. I figured they were chinooks — strong, brief winds common this time of year near the mountains — and went back to sleep.

Well, they weren’t chinooks. They were from this:

midwest_storm2010

[Click to coriolinate.]

Holy isobaric imbalance! What a monster!

This was the storm that tore across the US last week as seen by NASA’s GOES Earth-observing satellite. It spawned tornadoes, high winds, and all manners of mischief over more than 30 states. It wasn’t technically a hurricane — it’s actually an extratropical cyclone — but it had the lowest recorded pressure ever seen in the US:

At 5:13 p.m. CDT, the weather station in Bigfork, Minnesota recorded 955.2 millibars (28.21 inches of pressure). Pressure is one indicator of a storm’s strength, and this measurement corresponds to the pressure seen in a Category 3 hurricane.

Yikes. There are also videos of the storm’s development on the NASA page, just in case you think the Earth was tailor-made for us humans to live comfortably and complacently.

Incidentally, if there is some sort of metaphor between this storm marching across the country and today’s elections, I invite you to make the connection on your own.

Image credit: Jesse Allen, NASA GOES Project Science Office


Related posts:

Hurricane Earl… from space
Hurricane double whammy
Sandswept world
Is it cold in here or is it just me?


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Pretty pictures
NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »