Computer model projection of the air pressure and wind circulation around an intense storm near Iceland on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015.Image: Earth Simulator
UPDATED 6:15 p.m. ET: The hurricane-force low pressure center is intensifying rapidly northwest of Ireland, with a swirling cloud pattern visible on satellite imagery moving toward Iceland. The storm is projected to peak in intensity with a minimum central pressure of between 927 and 933 millibars on Wednesday morning.
This could be strong enough to bring it into the top 5 strongest storms on record in this part of the North Atlantic.
“It might get into the top 5, but I highly doubt it’ll break the record,” said Dave Kosier, a meteorologist with the Ocean Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland, in an interview with Mashable.
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. The second-strongest storm occurred in January 1993, with a pressure of 916 millibars.
The surge of mild air into the Arctic is already beginning, with a forecast high on Wednesday at the North Pole of close to the freezing mark of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0 degrees Celsius.
One of the strongest storms on record to form in the North Atlantic is set to rock Iceland with winds above hurricane force by Wednesday. It’s also expected to drive a new batch of rain and wind to flood-weary areas of the UK.
The storm could even set an all-time record for the strongest storm to develop in this part of the North Atlantic.
The storm will be a meteorological marvel, intensifying so rapidly that the term “bombogenesis” is perhaps an understatement to describe its intensification. Aiding its explosive development is a jet stream on steroids, with winds of 230 miles per hour roaring across the North Atlantic at aircraft cruising altitudes.