Strongest storm ever recorded in the Midwest smashes all-time pressure records

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:09 PM GMT on October 27, 2010

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Tornadoes, violent thunderstorms, and torrential rains swept through a large portion of the nation's midsection yesterday, thanks to the strongest storm ever recorded in the Midwest. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center logged 24 tornado reports and 282 reports of damaging high winds from yesterday's spectacular storm, and the storm continues to produce a wide variety of wild weather, with tornado watches posted for Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, a blizzard warning for North Dakota, high wind warnings for most of the upper Midwest, and near-hurricane force winds on Lake Superior.

The mega-storm reached peak intensity late yesterday afternoon over Minnesota, resulting in the lowest barometric pressure readings ever recorded in the continental United States, except for from hurricanes and nor'easters affecting the Atlantic seaboard. So far, it appears the lowest reading (now official) was a pressure of 28.21" (955.2 mb) reduced to sea level reported from Bigfork, Minnesota at 5:13pm CDT. Other extreme low pressures from Minnesota during yesterday's storm included 28.22" (956 mb) at Orr at 5:34pm CDT, 28.23" at International Falls (3:45pm), and 28.23" at Waskuh at 5:52pm. The 28.23" (956mb) reading from International Falls yesterday obliterated their previous record of 28.70" set on Nov. 11, 1949 by nearly one-half inch of mercury--a truly amazing anomaly. Duluth's 28.36" (961 mb) reading smashed their old record of 28.48" (964 mb) set on Nov. 11, 1998. Wisconsin also recorded its lowest barometric pressure in history yesterday, with a 28.36" (961 mb) reading at Superior. The old record was 28.45" (963.4 mb) at Green Bay on April 3, 1982. The previous state record for Minnesota was 28.43" (963 mb) at Albert Lea and Austin on Nov. 10, 1998.


Figure 1. Visible satellite image of the October 26, 2010 superstorm taken at 5:32pm EDT. At the time, Bigfork, Minnesota was reporting the lowest pressure ever recorded in a U.S. non-coastal storm, 955 mb. Image credit: NASA/GSFC.

Yesterday's records in context
Yesterday's 28.21" (955 mb) low pressure reading in Minnesota breaks not only the 28.28" (958 mb) previous "USA-interior-of-the-continent-record" from Cleveland, Ohio during the Great Ohio Storm of Jan. 26, 1978 (a lower reading in Canada during this event bottomed out at an amazing 28.05"/950 mb), but also the lowest pressure ever measured anywhere in the continental United States aside from the Atlantic Coast. The modern Pacific Coast record is 28.40" (962mb) at Quillayute, Washington on Dec. 1, 1987. An older reading, taken on a ship offshore from the mouth of the Umpqua River in Oregon during the famous "Storm King" event on January 9, 1880, was 28.20" (954.9 mb)--slightly lower than the 2010 storm.

The lowest non-hurricane barometric pressure reading in the lower 48 states is 28.10" (952 mb) measured at Bridgehampton, New York (Long Island) during an amazing nor'easter on March 1, 1914 (see Kocin and Uccellini, "Northeast Snowstorms; Vol. 2., p. 324, American Meteorological Society, 2004.) The lowest non-hurricane barometric pressure reading from anywhere in the United States was a 27.35" (927 mb) reading at Dutch Harbor, Alaska on Oct. 25, 1977. The lowest hurricane pressure reading was the 26.34" (892 mb) recorded in 1935 during the Great Labor Day Hurricane.


Figure 2. Storm reports received by NOAA's Storm Prediction Center from the October 26, 2010 superstorm.

The six most intense storms in history to affect the Great Lakes
According to the Chicago branch of the National Weather Service and Christopher C. Burt, our Weather Records blogger, the following are the six lowest pressures measured in the U.S. Great Lakes region:

1. Yesterday's October 26, 2010 Superstorm (955 mb/28.20")
2. Great Ohio Blizzard January 26, 1978 (958 mb/28.28")
3. Armistice Day Storm November 11, 1940 (967 mb/28.55")
4. November 10, 1998 storm (967 mb/ 28.55")
5. White Hurricane of November 7 - 9, 1913 (968 mb/28.60")
6. Edmund Fitzgerald Storm of November 10, 1975 (980 mb/28.95")

So, the famed storm that sank the ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald in 1974, killing all 29 sailors aboard, was weaker than the current storm. Indeed, I wouldn't want to be on a boat in Lake Superior today--sustained winds at the Rock of Ages lighthouse on Isle Royale were a sustained 68 mph, gusting to 78 mph at 3am EDT this morning!

Yet Another Remarkable Mid-latitude Cyclone so far this Year!
Yesterday's superstorm is reminiscent of the amazing low pressures reached earlier this year (Jan. 19-22) in the West, where virtually every site in California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, southern Oregon, and southern Idaho--about 10 - 15% of the U.S. land area--broke their lowest on record pressure readings. However, the lowest readings from that event fell well short of yesterday's mega-storm with 28.85" (977 mb) being about the lowest recorded at any onshore site.

Commentary
We've now had two remarkable extratropical storms this year in the U.S. that have smashed all-time low pressure records across a large portion of the country. Is this a sign that these type of storms may be getting stronger? Well, there is evidence that wintertime extratropical storms have grown in intensity in the Pacific, Arctic, and Great Lakes in recent decades. I discuss the science in detail in a post I did earlier this year. Here is an excerpt from that post:

General Circulation Models (GCMs) like the ones used in the 2007 IPCC Assessment Report do a very good job simulating how winter storms behave in the current climate, and we can run simulations of the atmosphere with extra greenhouse gases to see how winter storms will behave in the future. The results are very interesting. Global warming is expected to warm the poles more than the equatorial regions. This reduces the difference in temperature between the pole and Equator. Since winter storms form in response to the atmosphere's need to transport heat from the Equator to the poles, this reduced temperature difference reduces the need for winter storms, and thus the models predict fewer storms will form. However, since a warmer world increases the amount of evaporation from the surface and puts more moisture in the air, these future storms drop more precipitation. During the process of creating that precipitation, the water vapor in the storm must condense into liquid or frozen water, liberating "latent heat"--the extra heat that was originally added to the water vapor to evaporate it in the first place. This latent heat intensifies the winter storm, lowering the central pressure and making the winds increase. So, the modeling studies predict a future with fewer total winter storms, but a greater number of intense storms. These intense storms will have more lift, and will thus tend to drop more precipitation--including snow, when we get areas of strong lift in the -15°C preferred snowflake formation region.

Invest 90L
A low pressure system (Invest 90L) in the middle Atlantic Ocean has developed a broad circulation, but has very limited heavy thunderstorm activity. NHC is giving 90L a 10% of developing into a tropical depression by Friday. Another area of disturbed weather a few hundred miles west of 90L is disorganized, and is also being given a 10% chance of developing.

Next update
I'll have an update on Thursday morning. I'm at the National Hurricane Center in Miami this week, as part of their visiting scientist program, and hopefully the weather in the rest of the country will slow down enough so I can write about goings-on here at the Hurricane Center!

Christopher C. Burt is responsible for most of the content of this post, with the exception of the commentary, which I wrote.

Jeff Masters

The Big Blow! (pjpix)
This photo and the other in my series were both take from the same spot ... just different directions and just a representative scene mirroring so many others here in the midwest. These were taken yesterday morning right after the thunderstorm front had gone through but the winds continued to increase in intensity as the barometer dropped ... to a record low in some midwest spots. The big Blow was the equivlant of a Cat 2 or Cat 3 hurricane and indeed a very unusual storm in the upper midwest for this time of the year.
The Big Blow!
Cell Rotation Animation (SunsetSailor)
Gif Created on Make A Gif
Cell Rotation Animation
()
Disappearing Pier 5 (mactoot)
I posted a video of continuous hits at youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckrpWF-dXwU
Disappearing Pier 5
October Storm (cambuck1)
October Storm

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198. 7544
back to tropics alot happening today out of all the invest which one is the one to watch 91L ?
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197. Inyo
At least people are starting to become more honest about how they feel about climate change. Rather than pretending it isn't happening, amidst overwhelming evidence, let's actually sit down and talk about *why* you want to ignore the problem or actively make it worse. If we understand the real reasons for these desires, we can talk about them and maybe figure out a way to stop global warming without violating those interests.

I don't care much about hoarding more money than I need to live comfortably (admittedly more than most people in the world have... but my definition of 'comfortably' can be reached without as much money as most people seem to want). But if hoarding as much stuff as possible is so important, maybe we can figure out ways people can hoard stuff without harming others. If people are so opposed to government regulations, maybe rather than opposing doing ANYTHING about the problem, you can suggest some ways we could solve it without government regulations. Any ideas? If so, please do share them. We want to fix the problem, not to push some weird communist conspiracy.

Or that's how I feel anyway.
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196. JRRP
Quoting jasoniscoolman2010xo:
WOW WE HAVE INVEST 90L AND 91L AND 92L AND A NEW INVEST 93L SOON..WOW!!!

93L ???
where and when ?
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6212
195. 7544
what 3 invest is it still augest lol
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
system over se slides off into coastal west atlantic all the while poss system moves north from carb up over jamaica cuba and merges with system over coastal west atlantic moves up east coast as the first of the late fall nor'easters


Sounds plausible given the progged position of the big high out there.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
Quoting pilotguy1:
I am permanently gone from this blog. The loonies of the last two days win.
Do not split because of the loonies on here PilotGuy..Some bloggers will be disappointed that you left, and the loonies will get off because you left on there account...
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Quoting DontAnnoyMe:
system over se slides off into coastal west atlantic all the while poss system moves north from carb up over jamaica cuba and merges with system over coastal west atlantic moves up east coast as the first of the late fall nor'easters
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190. 7544
where pre 93l suppose to form ? tia
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Good Night all. I may not be back until Friday. Tomorrow is Pretenders and there's a lot going on here. Watch those lows and don't let them sneak up on me :)
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Quoting FFtrombi:


Link

I tried to find a link with it explained in the simplest way possible. Basically the earth's motion is not uniform, but affected by periodic wobbling. When the earth is closer to the sun, and tilted most towards the sun, it's hot, and vice versa. That is the major reason for ice ages and periods inbetween.

Please post if you don't understand this and I will find you more links.


They're called Milankovitch cycles

"...The Earth's axis completes one full cycle of precession approximately every 26,000 years. At the same time the elliptical orbit rotates more slowly. The combined effect of the two precessions leads to a 21,000-year period between the seasons and the orbit. In addition, the angle between Earth's rotational axis and the normal to the plane of its orbit, obliquity, moves from 22.1 degrees to 24.5 degrees and back again on a 41,000-year cycle; currently, this angle is 23.44 degrees and is decreasing..." wikipedia

Which can explain this:

"...The current ice age, the Pliocene-Quaternary glaciation, started about 2.58 million years ago during the late Pliocene when the spread of ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere began. Since then, the world has seen cycles of glaciation with ice sheets advancing and retreating on 40,000- and 100,000-year time scales called glacial periods..." - also wikipedia
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Quoting reedzone:
If you want to know why X-Richard has been keeping a small thunderstorm, look at the shear map..


It seems that some of the models were right on with the shear, just a bit too early and too late for Richard. It would have been possible for Richard to keep it's strength of the trough came near a bit earlier then it did. Anyways, the remnant low of Richard is under favorable conditions (5-10 knots). Too much damage to expect regeneration.
And here is the South American low in six days....
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184. 7544
2 new invest today interesting

will they all go out to sea ?

whos said it was over lol
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Y'all see old Tricky Dicky trying to blow a thunder cloud in all that dry air?
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Quoting pilotguy1:


Is there anyone sane left on this blog?

The U.S. Government classifies Puerto Rico as an independent taxation authority by Federal Law 48 U.S.C. § 734. Puerto Rico residents are required to pay U.S. federal taxes, import/export taxes,[79] federal commodity taxes,[80] social security taxes etc. Individuals working with the Federal Government pay federal income taxes while the rest of the residents are required to pay federal payroll taxes (Social Security[81] and Medicare),[82] as well as Commonwealth of Puerto Rico income taxes. All federal employees,[83] plus those who do business with the federal government,[84] in addition to Puerto Rico-based corporations that intend to send funds to the U.S.,[85] and some others[86] also pay federal income taxes. In 2009, Puerto Rico paid $3.742 billion into the US Treasury.[87]

Because residents of Puerto Rico pay into Social Security, they are eligible for Social Security benefits upon retirement, but are excluded from the Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and the island actually receives less than 15% of the Medicaid funding it would normally receive if it were a U.S. state.[88] Yet Medicare providers receive less-than-full state-like reimbursements for services rendered to beneficiaries in Puerto Rico, even though the latter paid fully into the system.[89]


I read this too, yes im sane the federal taxes are just SS and medicare, which come back to them later, therefore they do not help the great good of the nation
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6697
If you want to know why X-Richard has been keeping a small thunderstorm, look at the shear map..


It seems that some of the models were right on with the shear, just a bit too early and too late for Richard. It would have been possible for Richard to keep it's strength of the trough came near a bit earlier then it did. Anyways, the remnant low of Richard is under favorable conditions (5-10 knots). Too much damage to expect regeneration.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7436
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
176. Edited, got 91L and 92L mixed up.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24552
GFS has 90L trying to develop into Shary..

It defiantly has a lock on 92L..

and 91L once it gets into the Eastern Caribbean.

ECMWF does not develop 90L but develops 92L into a strong tropical storm by Friday. By 168 hours, long range, it begins to show 91L developing in the Caribbean.

The 12z CMC makes 92L into a Category 2 hurricane. Begins to develop 91L in the Caribbean by 144 hours.

UKMET is much weaker with 92L, but does develop it.

NOGAPS is similar to the UKMET.

Looks like the one we want to watch for Shary is 92L.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24552
91L



92L

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164. DontAnnoyMe 7:39 PM GMT on October 27, 2010
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


always expect the unexpected


Even the Spanish Inquisition?


maybe a Blog Inquisition
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Quoting pilotguy1:


They pay social security and medicare to the Federal Government and they have a income tax that is at a slightly different rate then what we pay on the mainland.


the pay income taxes, but those stay within puerto rico, and since they only pay medicare and SS no tax dollars they spend helps the greater good of the nation.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6697
Good Evening All. It's not your typical late October day today, lol.

I see the SFWMD has only been posted 10 times already, lol.

I'll delete.
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Quoting weaverwxman:
a reality TV show big brother with Julie Chen
ok i don't watch that show and i did not read the book either grothar
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169. JRRP
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6212
167. JRRP

Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6212
NCC033-272015-
/O.CON.KRNK.TO.W.0024.000000T0000Z-101027T2015Z/
CASWELL NC-
336 PM EDT WED OCT 27 2010

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 415 PM EDT FOR CASWELL
COUNTY...

AT 332 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR CONTINUED TO
INDICATE A TORNADO. THIS TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR CAMP SPRINGS...
MOVING EAST AT 40 MPH.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

IN ADDITION TO THE TORNADO...THIS STORM IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING
QUARTER SIZE HAIL AND DESTRUCTIVE STRAIGHT LINE WINDS.

IF IN MOBILE HOMES OR VEHICLES...EVACUATE THEM AND GET INSIDE A
STURDY SHELTER. IF NO SHELTER IS AVAILABLE...LIE FLAT IN THE NEAREST
DITCH OR OTHER LOW SPOT AND COVER YOUR HEAD WITH YOUR HANDS.

TO REPORT SEVERE WEATHER...PLEASE CONTACT THE NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE IN BLACKSBURG AT...1...8 6 6...2 1 5...4 3 2 4...WHEN YOU CAN
DO SO SAFELY.

A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 800 PM EDT WEDNESDAY EVENING
FOR NORTH CENTRAL NORTH CAROLINA AND SOUTH CENTRAL VIRGINIA.

&&

LAT...LON 3624 7939 3624 7953 3636 7952 3646 7952
3655 7921 3654 7914 3623 7916 3623 7939
TIME...MOT...LOC 1936Z 256DEG 36KT 3634 7939
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6697

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


always expect the unexpected


Even the Spanish Inquisition?
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
163. JRRP
Quoting 7544:
wait we have 91 L now ?

and 92L
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6212
Quoting 7544:
wait we have 91 L now ?
and 92l as well
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161. XLR8
Neapolitan do you think that all the co2 that is being pumped out of the volcanic lakes in Africa (started in 2001 I think)have any contributing factors in the warming? Just a thought
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Quoting islander101010:
91 has a chance to be the storm of 2010. doubt if it makes it west as far as the euro says but who knows.
hope it does not interfer with the pro search surfing tournament near the nw shore of puerto rico starting oct 30
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158. 7544
wait we have 91 L now ?
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
whos big brother
\

Ever read 1984?
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a reality TV show big brother with Julie Chen
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91 has a chance to be the storm of 2010. doubt if it makes it west as far as the euro says but who knows.
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whos big brother
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MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 2021
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0221 PM CDT WED OCT 27 2010

AREAS AFFECTED...SOUTHERN/EASTERN VA AND EASTERN MD TO DE/SOUTHERN
NJ

CONCERNING...TORNADO WATCH 733...

VALID 271921Z - 272015Z

THE SEVERE WEATHER THREAT FOR TORNADO WATCH 733 CONTINUES.

TORNADO WATCH 733 CONTINUES UNTIL 00Z...WITH CONTINUING POTENTIAL
FOR ISOLATED TORNADOES AND DAMAGING WINDS.

A COUPLE OF FAST MOVING MARGINAL SUPERCELLS/SMALL LINEAR SEGMENTS
CONTINUE TO STEADILY PROGRESS EAST-NORTHEASTWARD ACROSS THE EASTERN
MD SHORE/DE VICINITY AT MID AFTERNOON. WITH THIS ACTIVITY OCCURRING
IN WHAT IS NOW A MODERATELY UNSTABLE AIRMASS...RATHER STRONG WIND
FIELDS...WITH 50+ KT AT 2-3 KM AND ABOVE PER THE DOVER AFB WSR-88D
VWP...WILL SUPPORT AT LEAST SOME SHORT TERM POTENTIAL FOR WIND
DAMAGE/BRIEF TORNADO PRIOR TO STORMS CLEARING THE COAST.

OTHERWISE...LATEST THINKING IS THAT STORMS SHOULD FURTHER INCREASE
THE REMAINDER OF THE AFTERNOON FROM THE NORTHERN NC PIEDMONT INTO
SOUTH-CENTRAL/SOUTHEAST VA. SURFACE TEMPERATURES HAVE NOW WARMED
INTO THE LOWER/MIDDLE 80S F...WHICH IS CONTRIBUTING TO AS MUCH AS
1000-1250 J/KG OF MLCAPE ON THE IMMEDIATE WARM SIDE OF THE
SOUTHWEST-NORTHEAST ORIENTED FRONTAL ZONE. GIVEN THE MAGNITUDE OF
DEEP LAYER/LOW LEVEL SHEAR ACROSS THE REGION PER REGIONAL WSR-88D
VWP DATA...ANY SUSTAINED /ESPECIALLY CG LIGHTNING-YIELDING/ UPDRAFTS
SHOULD EASILY ATTAIN ROTATION AND/OR DEVELOP INTO SMALL BOWING
SEGMENTS CAPABLE OF DAMAGING WINDS/FEW TORNADOES.

..GUYER.. 10/27/2010


ATTN...WFO...PHI...AKQ...LWX...RAH...RNK...

LAT...LON 39077630 39737487 39497429 37357606 36447803 36767927
37567855 38657716 39077630
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6697
KOTG you'r taking lines from BIG BROTHER lmao
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Quoting weaverwxman:
hey VA you should think a little bit before you write the USA offers humanitarian help all over the world when ask for. Puerto Rico even if it was not a US territory if they ask for help we would send help think of the poor people left in harms way by economics and all of the help we extend to people around the world.....


sending aid, and sending fema are way two different things
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6697
Quoting pilotguy1:


Untrue.


they do not pay taxes to the federal government that is very true
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6697
hey VA you should think a little bit before you write the USA offers humanitarian help all over the world when ask for. Puerto Rico even if it was not a US territory if they ask for help we would send help think of the poor people left in harms way by economics and all of the help we extend to people around the world.....
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Quoting Neapolitan:
The race is on:

90L: 1007 mb | 30 knots | 26.5N / 40.9W

91L: missing | 25 knots | 06.0N / 43.0W

92L: missing | 25 knots | 22.5N / 53.5W

Ladies and gentlemen, please place your bets. I put $10 on 92L at 4:1... ;-)

Yeah, I'm betting on that one getting to a depression
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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