3.4 Meteorological Overview and Social Impact of three Extreme Low Pressure Systems in Iceland during the Winter 2015-2016

Tuesday, 24 January 2017: 2:15 PM
Ballroom 6E (Washington State Convention Center )
Elín B. Jónasdóttir, Icelandic Meteorological Office, Reykjavik, Iceland; and G. N. Petersen, B. Pálmarsson, T. F. Hervarsson, B. S. Einarsson, and H. Björnsson

During the winter 2015-2016 Iceland was impacted by three extreme low pressure systems, in addition to the general synoptic weather patterns usual for the North Atlantic during winter time. The lows all developed very quickly and can be defined as cyclonic bombs, deepening by more than 24 hPa in 24 hours. Average 10 minute winds speed on land exceeded 30 m/s at numerous weather stations with wind gusts exceeding 60 m/s.

Forecasters at the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) were able to forecast these storms with adequate lead time. The lows appeared in the ECMWF deterministic forecast 4-6 days in advance, followed by the high resolution Harmonie forecasts based on the ECMWF model.

All three storms were high impact both meteorologically and societally. Many of the main roads and airports were closed and general public services suspended in some cases. Structural damages were reported, houses were dislocated from foundations, ships in harbours damaged and debris caused a variety of damages in many places. In this talk the meteorological evolution of the storms is discussed, along with discussion on warnings issued and the societal impact of the storms.

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