379 Far-Reaching Impacts of the February 2017 Rapidly Intensifying, Extratropical Hurricane Force Low over the North Atlantic Ocean

Monday, 8 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Brad James Reinhart, NOAA, College Park, MD

This study examines the impacts of a powerful extratropical, hurricane force low that underwent an extended period of rapid intensification as it raced across the North Atlantic Ocean from 4-6 February 2017. While the Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) analyzes approximately 45 hurricane force wind events annually over the North Atlantic Ocean, this storm ranks among the twenty deepest extratropical lows ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean. According to OPC surface analyses, the system deepened 60 hPa in 36 hours and reached a minimum pressure of 932 hPa on 0600 UTC 6 February 2017. This dangerous system produced Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT) derived winds greater than 80 kt (41 m s-1) with significant wave heights analyzed to 15 meters by OPC forecasters. The storm disrupted marine traffic across the North Atlantic Ocean as ships avoided these extreme conditions. The far-reaching impacts of this storm extended into the Arctic, where significant warm air advection associated with the cyclone caused temperatures to approach zero degrees Celsius near the North Pole. Additionally, the impressive satellite presentation of this storm garnered significant attention from news outlets and social media, raising public awareness of extratropical marine weather hazards. Ultimately, the accurate forecasts issued by OPC warned transoceanic mariners several days in advance of the hazardous marine conditions and fulfilled the OPC mission of protecting life and property at sea.
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