Search This Blog

Friday, March 4, 2011


So, the extratropical Low earlier this week was in fact strong enough to qualify as a hurricane, or would have been had it originated in the Tropics. The Low at one point dipped below 964 millibars, which makes it a Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Maximum recorded sustained winds recorded on land were 72 knots (about 83 mph) gusting to 90 kts (104 mph), on Solander Island BC. This would be the bottom end of a Category 2 of the Saffir-Simpson scale, but the actual highest winds were some distance offshore. Cliff Mass on his weather blog has a pretty good discussion of why the Solander Island data may have been a slightly high-ball outlier, but nonetheless Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii were hit with what would have otherwise been the dangerous semicircle of the hurricane.

This is important to consider; typically Atlantic hurricanes hit the east coast with the "navigable" semicircle (so named by someone who had never been there in a boat or ship). Hurricanes which enter (or form in) the Gulf of Mexico of necessity hit the Gulf Coast with "both barrels", which is why Gulf of Mexico storms seem so much worse than Atlantic coast storms. Here on the west coast we always get hit with at least the dangerous semicircle, so our non-hurricanes in many cases will bring bigger winds to the coast. It is mostly the fact that the west coasts of Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska are sparsely populated that prevents them from receiving the same amount of damage (and headlines) as east cost hurricanes.

No comments:

Post a Comment