Mind-blowing view of vigorous California storm

February 28, 2014

Drought-stricken Southern California is getting doused by a powerhouse storm that looks like a hurricane, except it’s not.

Early morning water vapor animation of California storm (NOAA)
Early morning water vapor animation of California storm (NOAA)

On water vapor imagery, the storm shows off an unmistakable counterclockwise swirl and a well-defined center with an eye-like appearance. But, in reality, this is just a mid-latitude storm – albeit an intense one. Its lowest central pressure is 975 mb, the equivalent of a category 1 or 2 hurricane. It kind of resembles a cinnamon roll, or a snail.

Here’s another look at the storm via infrared satellite imagery:

Infrared satellite view of California storm (NOAA/NASA)

And here’s a summary of the impacts expected from the storm, from the National Weather Service in Los Angeles:

(National Weather Service)

Related reading: Desperately dry Southern California to get deluged Friday, most since 2011

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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