Freak storm pushes North Pole 50 degrees above normal

December 31, 2015 10:30 pm

storm in the far North Atlantic is the same storm that caused two
tornado outbreaks and widespread flooding in the United States. Photo /

A powerful winter cyclone – the same storm that lead to two tornado
outbreaks in the United States and disastrous river flooding – has
driven the North Pole to the freezing point this week, 50 degrees above
average for this time of year.
From Tuesday evening to Wednesday
morning, a mind-boggling pressure drop was recorded in Iceland: 54
millibars in just 18 hours. This triples the criteria for “bomb”
cyclogenesis, which meteorologists use to describe a rapidly
intensifying mid-latitude storm. A “bomb” cyclone is defined as dropping
one millibar per hour for 24 hours.
NOAA’s Ocean Prediction
Center said the storm’s minimum pressure dropped to 928 millibars around
1 a.m. Eastern time, which likely places it in the top five strongest
storms on record in this region.
“According to the center’s
records, the all-time strongest storm in this area occurred on Dec. 15,
1986, and that had a minimum central pressure of 900 millibars,”
Mashable’s Andrew Freedman reported on Tuesday.

“The second-strongest storm occurred in January 1993, with a pressure of 916 millibars.”
this storm churns north, it’s forcing warm air into the Arctic Circle.
Over the North Sea, sustained winds from the south are blasting at 70
mph, and gusting to well above 100 mph, drawing heat from south to
Although there are no permanent weather stations at the
North Pole (or really anywhere in the Arctic Ocean), we can use weather
forecast models, which ingest data from satellites and surrounding
surface observations, to estimate conditions at Earth’s most northern
On Wednesday morning, temperatures over a vast area
just to the east of the North Pole were somewhere between 30 and 35
degrees Fahrenheit, and for at least a brief moment, surpassed the
32-degree threshold at exactly 90 degrees North, according to data from
the GFS forecast model.
“Consider the average winter temperature
there is around 20 degrees below zero,” wrote the Post’s Jason Samenow
on Monday. A temperature around the freezing mark signifies a departure
from normal of over 50 degrees, and close to typical mid-summer
temperatures in this region.
In other words, the area around the
North Pole was about as warm as Chicago on Wednesday, and quite a few
degrees warmer than much of the Midwest.
Meanwhile in habitable
areas around the North Atlantic, winds are howling and waves are rocking
the coastline. In Britain, a week of excessive rainfall has pushed
rivers and streams well beyond their banks, stranding vehicles and
buckling bridges.
In a blog post on Monday, the U.K. Met office
said that December has been a record-breaking month for rainfall in
parts of the United Kingdom. A Christmas weekend storm brought up to 8
inches of addition rainfall on saturated soil. The Met Office listed
just a small portion of the December records that were set last weekend,
in some cases blowing away the previous December records by 10 inches.

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