“Monster” storm in north Pacific battering Aleutian Islands


North Pacific weather map as of 6 UTC Wednesday (National Weather Service)

A large, deep storm in the north Pacific is pounding the  Aleutian Islands with massive waves and winds over 70 mph.

The National Weather Service forecasts the storm to produce wind gusts to 75 to 85 mph and waves to 15 feet in parts of the Bering Sea, and a storm surge (rise in coastal waters) of 1 to 3 feet in southwest coastal Alaska today into early Thursday.


On Tuesday, the storm underwent “bombogenesis”, meaning its central pressure – an indicator of intensity (lower=stronger) – plummeted at least 24 millibars (mb) in 24 hours.  On Monday night, its central pressure was estimated to be 983 mb.  By Tuesday night (as shown in the top image), the central pressure was analyzed at 954 mb.  As of this morning, the National Weather Service estimated its central pressure at below 948 mb (for comparison, Superstorm Sandy’s lowest pressure was around 940 mb).


As the storm rapidly deepened Tuesday, it produced an 86 mph wind gust near Adak Station in the Central Aleutians according to the National Weather Service office in Anchorage.

Current satellite imagery shows the storm’s comma head spanning much of the northern Pacific, with its tail or cold front extending from the eastern Aleutians into the central Pacific.


Satellite view of monster north Pacific storm (NOAA)

The storm is forecast to gradually weaken in the next 24-48 hours as it moves north and inland over eastern Russia.

This north Pacific “monster”, as the National Weather Service calls it,  is not the only show in town. At the bottom of the satellite image, you can view category 5 Super Typhoon Haiyan in the bottom left portion of the screen, tracking towards the  central Philippines.

Interestingly, both storms “bombed” or rapidly intensified at roughly the same time.

 

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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