UPDATE MONDAY 1/28: Waves have increased to 42.7 feet (highest in the entire world today), with pressure at 28.42" at two buoys off the Ireland coast. Here's a photo of a surfer riding one of those big ones!
ORIGINAL POST (SUNDAY 1/27/2013): NOAA's Ocean Prediction Center issued an astounding forecast Thursday:
"The latest OPC 48 hour Atlantic Surface forecast chart (top left), valid 00Z January 26, continues to show an expected hurricane force low pressure system in the central North Atlantic. The forecasted central pressure is 939mb with winds of 80 knots, deepening to 928mb by 72 hours! The corresponding OPC 48 hour Atlantic Wind Wave forecast chart (bottom right) is indicating potential significant wave heights of 10.5 meters (34 feet)!"
By today, the WaveWatch forecast model was predicting waves over 42 feet (above), with 36-foot waves near shore in Ireland and the United Kingdom later this week! While there aren't any buoys in the middle of the ocean where the storm was the strongest, the nearest NDBC buoy off the Ireland coast reported 42-foot waves overnight, while another buoy reported pressure as low as 28.45 inches, the pressure you'd typically see in a Category 4 Hurricane. Winds have also gusted over 40 knots.
This morning, NOAA's OPC said: "Beautiful, textbook satellite imagery from the SEVIRI (Meteosat-9) Red Green Blue (RGB) Air Mass product this morning, valid time Jan 26th 0645Z. The central pressure of the low was analyzed to 939 mb at 06Z, and the system is forecast to deepen even further over the next 12 hours. The low is then forecast to slowly fill and lift northeastward, giving way to a continued very active, and very intense low track over the next several days across the Atlantic."
Additional maps are available from this page (in Italian). The ECMWF model is currently projecting a storm at least at 932 mb pressure:
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