November 7, 2014; 10:17 AM ET
UPDATE 11/7:Thanks for all the comments. I wanted to apologize for not talking more about the storm’s impacts on Alaska. I went into weather geek mode yesterday and was really only looking at the statistics on the storm at sea. You can find out the effects on Alaskan soil in our news story about the storm and from the National Weather Service in Alaska, which has a new map showing 50-foot waves offshore, and says this morning:
“You’ve probably heard the news, this storm could break the 1977 record for the lowest atmospheric pressure recorded in Alaska, which was 925 mb measured in Dutch Harbor. It will be close. But of greater importance is where the impacts of this storm will and will NOT be felt…”
Another model prediction shows waves to 55 feet. There are a few buoys in the path of the storm but they aren’t showing anything interesting yet. The storm has also managed to get itself into our “World Weather Hotspot” graphic today:
ORIGINAL BLOG 11/6: Take a look at this map. It shows a huge storm. Is this Jupiter’s “red spot?”
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No, but it might be the most intense storm on Earth this year, and perhaps in recorded history for the Bering Strait and Alaska. The map (from Earth.NullSchool.Net) is showing pressure (color) and wind vectors (lines) for the western Pacific Ocean as of Friday night. See wind colors at the bottom of this blog. Here’s a close-up:
The storm appears to have the eye of a hurricane, though that far north it will be labeled an “extratropical storm.” According to our news story, the strongest storm in this part of the world was measured at 925 millibars. The map above and below, from the U.S. GFS model, puts the central pressure at 926 mb, though some model runs last night dipped as low as 918 mb!
NOAA’s Ocean Prediction Center called the storm “Hurricane-Force” and estimated its pressure would be 924 mb at the lowest, as of Tuesday, but in today’s update the minimum pressure falls between two maps.
NOAA’s Alaska National Weather Service office says “Hurricane force wind and seas of 45 to 50 feet are possible Friday and Saturday. Gusts to 100 mph are not out of the question near Shemya and Attu.” That agrees with this morning’s WaveWatch model graphic, showing waves over 45 feet (see below). An earlier model predicted over 48 feet!
Whether you look at the storm from a Polar- or Mercator-projection map of the Earth, it’s by far the strongest storm projected to be on Earth tomorrow. In our story “Rapidly Strengthening Monster Storm May Become Most Intense Ever for Alaska,” we say…
“AccuWeather.com meteorologists believe that this system could become one of the most intense storms to move over the Bering Sea. The central pressure of this system is forecast to drop below 930 millibars on Friday night. To put this in perspective, the lowest pressure recorded in Hurricane Sandy was 940 millibars. If the pressure of this storm does drop this low, it will be in contention for becoming one of the most powerful storms to ever develop over the Bering Sea in recorded history in terms of central pressure. The current record stands at 925 millibars from a powerful storm that moved over the Bering Sea on Oct. 25, 1977.”
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com