The Day After Tomorrow, credit CIRA.
The most intensive storm ever recorded smashed into Alaska’s Aleutian Islands chain on Thursday with a ferocity seen only in the blockbuster movie, "The Day After Tomorrow."
“It’s the most intense storm ever recorded in the North Pacific, excluding typhoons,” said Brian Brettschneider, an NOAA research scientist with the National Weather Service. The centre of what forecasters refer to as “bomb cyclone” was measured at a record-low barometric pressure of 921 millibars, equivalent to the eye of a Category 4 hurricane and the lowest documented over the Aleutians as far back as the 1950s, Brettschneider said. The storm unleashed seas as high as 54 feet (16.5 meters) and winds topping 80 miles per hour (120 kph) - a force of Category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale - in the western Aleutians, the weather service said.
The waters, however, are heavily used by cargo ships travelling between Asia and North America. Thousands of vessels a year ply a shipping corridor known as the North Pacific Great Circle Route. The area is also important for commercial fishing. The storm also caused some erosion of Bering Sea winter ice, already at some of its thinnest levels on record for this time of year, further disrupting a frozen landscape that walruses and some species of seals depend on. “This may kind of set back ice formation,” Brettschneider said, adding that it would likely take five or six days for the winds to calm and for cold northern air to flow back in, allowing the Bering Sea to regain some ice.
The centre of what forecasters refer to as “bomb cyclone” was measured at a record-low barometric pressure of 921 millibars, equivalent to the eye of a Category 4 hurricane beats Storm Dennis "The Menace," in February 2020 when the central pressure dropped more than 50 millibars in 24 hours, from 987 millibars early Friday to 936 millibars. According to Meteorologist Craig Ceecee, Storm Dennis was comparable to a category 5 hurricane, with winds approaching 160 mph, almost 260 kmh.