Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:08 AM GMT on January 22, 2010
The most powerful low pressure system in Arizona history is generating havoc in the state tonight, as a powerful cold front sweeps through. Prescott last hour recorded sustained winds at 52 mph, gusting to 67 as the cold front passed. Visibility was zero in blowing dust on I-10 connecting Phoenix and Tucson, and a cooperative observer in Apache Junction between Phoenix and Tucson reported sustained winds of hurricane force, 74 mph. A tornado touched down just west of Blythe, on the Arizona California border, at 4:31 pm MST. The twister crossed I-10, blowing three semi trucks over, blowing the roofs off houses, and downing power lines. I-10 has been closed until further notice, according to media reports.
Figure 1. Radar image of Arizona's nastiest cold front in recorded history approaching Phoenix.
This past hour, Phoenix obliterated their all-time record low pressure, set in 1902. The old record was 29.32", and they are now at 29.22", with the pressure still falling. Flagstaff has also beaten their all-time low pressure record, which was 29.15", set in 1937. The pressure has fallen to 29.13" so far. Yuma also set a new record, 29.15", compared to the old record of 29.37". At 4:41 PM today, Las Vegas set a new record of 29.03 inches. This crushed the all-time record low sea level pressure of 29.17 inches set in December 1949. Fresno, Bakersfield, Eureka, and San Diego have also set new all-time low pressure records today.
Links to follow tonight:
Severe Weather Page.
Interactive Tornado Map.
Arizona Current Conditions.
I'll have a full update on Friday morning.
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