Jesse Ferrell

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Extreme Nor'easter: 119-MPH Winds, 54-Foot Waves

March 27, 2014; 2:08 PM ET

Yesterday's extreme nor'easter fell to 955 mb pressure, according to NOAA's HPC:

In Atlantic Canada, this beat out the "White Juan" storm of 2004, but not the January 2000 storm off the New England coast which was 954mb, according to @stormchas4 on Twitter. Below is a list of the top wind gusts that I could find. Brett Anderson has some incredible photos and a more comprehensive listing of the Canadian wind gusts.

Buoy #44027: 119 mph*
Grand Etang, NS: 107 mph*
Brier Island, NS: 88 mph
Baccaro Point, NS: 85 mph
Beaver Island, NS: 83 mph
Nantucket, MA: 82 mph

*Are these readings accurate? Both are unmanned but official Canadian weather stations. Both would beat the unofficial 91 mph and official 77 mph readings from "White Juan." Video below: Reporters dumb enough to be at Grand Etang when winds were over 100 mph.

It would also be the second highest wind reading I've seen on a buoy in my last 10 years of blogging. (Due to land interference and lack of instrumentation, even strong hurricanes rarely generate wind gusts over 100 mph on water, much less land.)

Since the buoy had the highest reading and was a station on the water, I took a closer look at it. The data itself looks sound-there were not crazy fluctuations of readings around the time of the gust, which was reported.

Unfortunately, several stations in the area (and all at-water stations) were out of service at the time when these gusts were recorded, so it's hard to say whether the data matched up with nearby readings. Certainly readings on land were much less, but that's to be expected.

The other thing we can look at is high-resolution model data around the time of the readings. The image below shows estimated winds from the 4-KM NMM model. Unfortunately, it shows the highest winds, between 50 and 60 knots way offshore from where our readings were taken, and much lower readings at the locations where the wind was measured. That's troubling because I would have expected they would be in the worst areas-but of course, models aren't perfect. Given that none of the readings over 60 knots can be verified this way, I don't think that this can rule them out.

Waves over 54 feet were detected by another buoy, which are the largest I've seen, beating former hurricanes including Katrina.

Here is a video showing the storm's pressure, radar, satellite, and storm reports on GREarth software; see yesterday's blog for still images.

This video of the winds (first at surface, then 850 mb) is from the GFS model, via Earth.Nullschool.Net.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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About This Blog

Jesse Ferrell
Jesse Ferrell's WeatherMatrix blog covers extreme weather worldwide with a concentration on weather photos and Social Media.