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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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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Quoting weaverwxman:
with Haloween only 4 days away I would say scary shary would be unlikely CUTE but unlikely IMO but good one KOTG


always expect the unexpected
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55523
Update to my post #133:

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

91L: 1008 mb | 25 knots | 06.0N / 43.0W

92L: 1010 mb | 25 knots | 22.5N / 53.5W
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13729
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


they shouldnt even get fema, they pay zero taxes yet get all the benefits its totally ludicrous
We send help to other countries all the time, why not our Territory. I agree that we either should make them a State or cut them loose, but it is not up to me. I don't even know if they qualify for statehood or if the populace wants it. But if there is trouble, they need help, we are obligated to send it, if nothing else, as fellow human beings.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
scary shary would be a nice touch for halloween
with Haloween only 4 days away I would say scary shary would be unlikely CUTE but unlikely IMO but good one KOTG
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scary shary would be a nice touch for halloween
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55523
Quoting mcluvincane:
Any chance of a conus threat from invests?
always a chance even if small
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55523
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


they shouldnt even get fema, they pay zero taxes yet get all the benefits its totally ludicrous


Untrue.
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Quoting overwash12:


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.
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Any chance of a conus threat from invests?
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138. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #61
TYPHOON CHABA (T1014)
3:00 AM JST October 28 2010
=================================

SUBJECT: Category Four Typhoon In Sea South Of Okinawa

At 18:00 PM UTC, Typhoon Chaba (945 hPa) located at 23.3N 128.3E has 10 minute sustained winds of 85 knots with gusts of 120 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving north northeast at 9 knots

Dvorak Intensity: T5.5

Storm Force Winds
=================
70 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
================
220 NM from the center in southeastern quadrant
200 NM from the center in northwestern quadrant

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
24 HRS: 25.8N 129.9E - 80 knots (CAT 3/Typhoon)
48 HRS: 28.5N 131.7E - 75 knots (CAT 3/Typhoon)
72 HRS: 33.5N 136.6E - 70 knots (CAT 3/Typhoon)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
137. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number TEN
PERTURBATION TROPICALE 01 2010-2011
22:00 PM Réunion October 27 2010
=====================================

At 18:00 PM UTC, Tropical Disturbance 01R (1000 hPa) located at 13.1S 84.3E has 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots with gusts of 40 knots. The disturbance is reported as moving west southwest at 9 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T1.5/2.0

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
12 HRS: 14.0S 82.6E - 25 knots (Perturbation Tropicale)
24 HRS: 14.8S 80.6E - 30 knots (Depression Tropicale)
48 HRS: 15.9S 77.3E - 30 knots (Depression Tropicale)
72 HRS: 15.1S 73.6E - 25 knots (Perturbation Tropicale)

Additional Information
========================

Convection over the system has collapsed during the past 6 hours. The center fix is extrapolated from the past track.

ASCAT data at 1620z shows that 30 knot winds exits locally in the southeastern sector of the low level circulation center.

According to the last available numerical weather prediction models, system is expected to move under the axis of the upper level ridge in 24 hours. Vertical wind shear should weaken and the system could re-intensify during the next 24 hours, but the oceanic energetic potential is weak. (26C or lower sea surface temperatures) so intensity forecasting is uncertain and system should weaken again. Numerical weather prediction models are in good agreement for the forecasted movement west southwestward and then west northwestward beyond, north of the low level subtropical anticyclone.
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136. JRRP
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 just put $10 on 92L at 4:1... ;-)

lol jejejeje
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halloween mask boys at the NHC having some fun maybe even the doc helping out
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55523
Quoting kwgirl:
And when was Otto? About time. What took so long, the local government didn't ask?


they shouldnt even get fema, they pay zero taxes yet get all the benefits its totally ludicrous
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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... ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13729
Quoting sarahjola:

wow! we don't prosecute for murder if you die of natural causes. that is the weirdest response i have ever gotten, but i guess i see what you are trying to say. have a good day.


In the case of AGW we have the means, motives, and opportunity of the perpetrators. It's us.
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131. JLPR2
Quoting JRRP:

A VIGOROUS TROPICAL WAVE IS LOCATED OVER THE CENTRAL TROPICAL
ATLANTIC ABOUT 1200 MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST OF THE WINDWARD ISLANDS.
UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE FORECAST TO BECOME MORE CONDUCIVE FOR SOME
SLOW DEVELOPMENT OF THIS DISTURBANCE IN A COUPLE OF DAYS.
THERE IS
A LOW CHANCE...10 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL
CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS AS IT MOVES WESTWARD OR
WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT 15 TO 20 MPH.


yep, it finally got its circle at 2pm.

I'm really impressed with the fact that we have three simultaneous invests in late October. O.O 2010 Has been one crazy year.

The one making me go hmm is 92L which suddenly appeared out of nowhere yesterday. XD
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Quoting Patrap:


Puerto Rico Severe Storms, Flooding, Mudslides, and Landslides associated with Tropical Storm Otto

Declared October 26, 2010
And when was Otto? About time. What took so long, the local government didn't ask?
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Quoting Birthmark:

You are probably thinking of wooly mammoths. They are remarkably UN-dinosaur-like.


they have also found that this earth goes through periods of cooling and warming.

They have also found that people die from natural causes all the time; yet we still prosecute murder.


wow! we don't prosecute for murder if you die of natural causes. that is the weirdest response i have ever gotten, but i guess i see what you are trying to say. have a good day.
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Quoting sarahjola:

yes we have seen dinosaur's. they found one frozen solid with food still in it's belly. they have found complete skeletons of dino's. they have also found that this earth goes through periods of cooling and warming. everyone should respect this earth and treat it right cuz it brings life. the earth was perfectly designed to provide resources, and support life, and evolve with time. to think any less of this wonderful creation is an insult. no disrespect intended to anyone. have a blessed day! wonder if s.e. Louisiana will get any severe weather


Sorry, Sarah, but no, that was no dinosaur from tens of millions of years ago; it was a mammoth from several thousand (and they've found more than one). Major difference. Anyway, I agree with you that "everyone should respect this earth and treat it right cuz it brings life." In fact, that's what this whole debate is about: we've been mistreating it for years, and it's time that mistreatment stopped...or at least that those accountable for that mistreatment be called out for their actions.

And to mirror your salutation: I mean no disrespect to anyone, either... ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13729
INV/92L/XX
MARK
22.55N/53.55W
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55523
INV/91L/XX
MARK
6.3N/43.3W
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55523
INV/90L/XX
MARK
26.55N/40.99W
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55523
Quoting sarahjola:

yes we have seen dinosaur's. they found one frozen solid with food still in it's belly. they have found complete skeletons of dino's.

You are probably thinking of wooly mammoths. They are remarkably UN-dinosaur-like.

they have also found that this earth goes through periods of cooling and warming.

They have also found that people die from natural causes all the time; yet we still prosecute murder.

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120. JRRP
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Imagine if 90L, 91L, and 92L all develop. Shary, Tomas and Virginie.

If that, which is pretty unlikely, happens there would be no doubt in my mind that we'd see Alpha this year.
Hurricane Virginie sounds ominous. Its almost as frightening as Fifi.....;0
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Quoting SuperTyphoonLionrock:
Give me Liberty, or give me Death!- Patrick Henry
+100
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Admin what is wrong with you guys. You tolerate this but people mention StormW and get banned come on guys get a grip and ban this person greentortuloni. And people wonder why everyone leaves this blog.

Member Since: November 4, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6577
Imagine if 90L, 91L, and 92L all develop. Shary, Tomas and Virginie.

If that, which is pretty unlikely, happens there would be no doubt in my mind that we'd see Alpha this year.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

No body has ever seen a dinosaur in person, yet you believe in those, don't you? Of course you do; it's called the fossil record, and it's a type of what scientists call "proxy data". No scientist has ever set foot on the Sun, but they know what chemicals it's made form, and in what proportions. How's that? There's never been anyone there to sample it. The answer again: proxy data (in this case, spectrographic analysis). No geologist has ever seen a strike/slip fault cause an earthquake, but the effects are--again--available through proxy data.

I'm afraid that withholding opinion on the past condition of the earth's climate until a time machine is built so we can send a meteorologist back is merely a stall tactic used by those who disbelieve science for one reason or another. As far as logic goes, it's a very poor substitute for real debate.

yes we have seen dinosaur's. they found one frozen solid with food still in it's belly. they have found complete skeletons of dino's. they have also found that this earth goes through periods of cooling and warming. everyone should respect this earth and treat it right cuz it brings life. the earth was perfectly designed to provide resources, and support life, and evolve with time. to think any less of this wonderful creation is an insult. no disrespect intended to anyone. have a blessed day! wonder if s.e. Louisiana will get any severe weather
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Quoting NavarreMark:


The reason I am not going to worry about it is because "the proposed actions to combat AGW" are mainly socialism/communism or some other kind of tyranny, and I would rather be die a horrible death. That is why I am not going to worry or act on "AGW". You have a right to your opinion, but you do not have the right to forfiet the freedom and liberty of others.

We would all be better off dead.

It has started raining now. It is not coming down hard yet, but I expect it to increase.
The late Carl Sagan who supported SETI (among other things) suspected that maybe the reason for the appearant lack of extra-terrestrial advanced civilizatons in our galaxy is because they tend to detroy themselves early in their evolution so you would appear to be in good company, although the thought is not very comforting.
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112. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting Jeff9641:


Very low latitude for a tropical system.


Notably..CMC has been on it. Insists a TD by South America at no higher than 8N.
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Quoting NavarreMark:


The reason I am not going to worry about it is because "the proposed actions to combat AGW" are mainly socialism/communism or some other kind of tyranny, and I would rather be die a horrible death. That is why I am not going to worry or act on "AGW". You have a right to your opinion, but you do not have the right to forfiet the freedom and liberty of others.

We would all be better off dead.


So if I understand you correctly, calling the fire department when your home is ablaze, or dialing the police when you've been robbed, would also be considered "socialism/communism or some other kind of tyranny"? Look, the planet is in peril. Period. If some want to sit idly by and watch as others destroy it for monetary gain, that's certainly their right...but it is absolutely a dereliction of their duties as a human if they choose not to help save it.

As I said earlier, this is the kind of thinking that Big Energy wants folks to believe, and to their credit, they've done a darn fine job of selling their point...no surprise, given the depth of their pockets, or the ferocity with which they're willing to defend their untenable but oh-so-lucrative position. Shame on them for doing it...and bigger shame on us for allowing them to.

:-\
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13729
Euro has 91L south of Jamaica at day 8.

http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/plots/ec850_17.png
Member Since: November 4, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6577
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Very impressive.

Three invests at once in late October.

At least one of them should develop.
Yes sir...They look well organized already...
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Very impressive.

Three invests at once in late October.

At least one of them should develop.


I think we will get 2 names out of these 3. One of them could be a sub tropical storm the other has the potential to be a major hurricane (91L).
Member Since: November 4, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6577
Quoting Skyepony:


Got mine updated.. that was confusing with them putting up 2 new while looking over everything.

91L is at 6N..


Very low latitude for a tropical system.
Member Since: November 4, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6577
Very impressive.

Three invests at once in late October.

At least one of them should develop.

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Quoting sflawavedude:
The agw dinosaur came out of hiding and saw its shadow. That means 6 more months of gw arguments ahead! Oh boy...
lol....No wonder they were blasted off the Earth....
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Quoting SuperTyphoonLionrock:
Give me Liberty, or give me Death!- Patrick Henry


And where is he? ;-)
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Give me Liberty, or give me Death!- Patrick Henry
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99. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting Seastep:
Looks like I need to speed up work on my new blog entry.


Got mine updated.. that was confusing with them putting up 2 new while looking over everything.

91L is at 6N..
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The agw dinosaur came out of hiding and saw its shadow. That means 6 more months of gw arguments ahead! Oh boy...
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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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