Was Superstorm Sandy The Strongest Non-Tropical Storm Ever???
One week ago, I introduced Kentuckiana to a potential superstorm that could be the strongest non-tropical storm to ever hit the US. I am disturbed to see such distruction across the US from this Superstorm, yet I feel as a forecaster that I am proud we gave such advance notice. If you haven't read my initial blog on the superstorm, please take a few minutes to read a unique blog predicting this Superstorm 7 days out.
The pressure during Superstorm Sandy dropped officially to 948 mb measured in Atlantic City Monday, October 29, 2012. Since generally we consider lowest pressure as an indicator of strongest storm, this opens the door to a lot of questions. With so much interest in where this superstorm ranks, I wanted to talk a little about where Superstorm Sandy falls in the record books.
Worlds Most Powerful Non-Tropical System Ever!
The records for "non-tropical" low pressure systems is very unique. Many of the strongest non-tropical storms ever on the planet is very unique in that most of them occurred in either Alaska or near Scotland in Europe. When we look at the strongest non-tropical storm ever to occur on the planet, we will need to fly over to Europe to look at a North Atlantic Superstorm that occurred on January 11, 1993. Quite frankly this storm was an animal! The pressure dropped to an amazing 913 mb making it the strongest non-tropical system every to occur on planet earth. This image from EUMETSAT Meteosat-4 shows the monster.
Strongest Non-Tropical Storm Ever To Hit US!
Anyone that has ever watched "The Deadliest Catch" knows we can get monsterous storms in the Bering Sea. This is the location we travel to as we look at the lowest non-tropical pressure ever measured in the US. On October 25, 1977 Dutch Harbor was hit by a monsterous storm. The storm was the thing legends are made of! It produced 130 mph winds at Adak in the Aleutian Islands. Amazingly the analysis of the storm suggest waves were as tall as 120 feet in the open sea!!! It was originally a Typhoon in the West Pacific and eventually made the transition to an extratropical system.
Strongest Non-Tropical Storm Ever To Hit Continental US!
This is where the list starts to become very interesting. It is much more difficult for the US to see non-tropical storms that are near the intensity of the north Atlantic / north Pacific. These areas have the ability to see mega tropical systems transition to superstorms more frequently, where it is much more difficult in the warmer continental US. Two storms come to mind when we look at non-tropical low pressure records for the continental US... The monster Canton, New York Storm of 1932 and the New York Superstorm in 1914.
We will start with New York Superstorm of March 3, 1914. This superstorm is really a legend in parts of New York because it produced 16" of snow and produced winds of 84 mph! The problem is we have no way to confirm the pressure measured during this storm. Unofficially, this storm had a pressure measured in Bridgehampton, NY of 951.6 mb. This goes down as the strongest non-tropical system ever to strike the US ... UNOFFICIALLY.
The superstorm that moved through Canton, New York in 1932 was quite frankly a remarkable system. It produced a pressure of 955.0 mb on March 7, 1932. This pressure has long stood as the lowest pressure ever measured during a non-tropical storm system in the US.
In October on 2010, we saw a massive storm system move across the Great Lakes with near-record low pressure for a non-tropical storm system for the continental US. This storm came VERY close to breaking all official records when the pressure dropped to 955.2 mb in Big Fork, MN. The NWS produced this graph to show the intensity of this monster storm system.
The 1978 Blizzard on January 26, 1978 was also a storm of note with a central pressure measured at 955.5 mb.
New Record Strongest Non-Tropical Storm Ever To Hit Continental US
These records fall normally painfully with terrible consequences. The pressure officially measured during Superstorm Sandy dropped to 948 mb in Atlantic City, NJ as the storm came ashore. This storm produced dire consequences...
Catastrophic flooding in New York
Incredible storm surges in New Jersey
2+ feet of snow in West Virginia
It is clear that nothing compares the the unbelievable Superstorm in the northern Atlantic on January, 11, 1993. The pressure on that storm dropped to a remarkable minimum pressure of 913 mb putting king on the list of the strongest non-tropical storms ever to occur on planet earth. The Superstorm in Alaska on October, 25, 1977 comes in as the most powerful non-tropical storm to ever hit US soil at 923 mb. In the continental US, Superstorm Sandy now takes her place at the top as the strongest non-tropical storm to ever hit the US at 948 mb. This storm was a monster breaking records for storm surge heights all over the northeast and created immeasurable pain with the resulting flooding. Winds topped at 94 mph in New York during Superstorm Sandy created power outages to over 8,200,000 people. This storm will take years to clean up, but many of us will never see something like this again.
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