by Blake Mathews | CBS 11
FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A strong mid-latitude cyclone off the Pacific Northwest is one of the records.
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Bringing record-breaking precipitation and widespread snowfall to the west coast, the storm made itself so strong on Sunday, October 24 that it would rival any category four hurricane in terms of pressure.
Huge rainfall has engulfed drought-stricken California, where scarce rainfall has now become too good a thing.
Hard, cracked ground and abundant burn scars caused a lot of water to run off, causing mudslides and flash floods.
In Sacramento, the state capital of California, set an all-time 24-hour precipitation record of 5.44 inches, breaking the old 5.28-inch record set 141 years ago in 1880!
Blue Canyon received 10.44 inches of rain in 24 hours, breaking its old record of 9.33 inches set in 1964.
It doesn’t stop there.
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Many well-known ski resorts like Kirkwood have also accumulated huge amounts of snow in the past 24 hours. Donner Pass, straddling the California-Nevada border, single-handedly picked up 29 inches. Soda Springs also took 29 inches while Kirkwood took 15 inches.
Seas as high as 50 feet have also been observed with winds of 60 to 100 mph.
So what exactly is a “bomb cyclone”?
A bomb cyclone is defined as an area of low pressure where the pressure in the storm decreases rapidly; lose 24 millibars over a 24 hour period.
This is closely associated with a rapidly strengthening system. Meteorologists call it a “bombardment,” the name says. The general rule is that the lower the pressure, the stronger the storm. If a hurricane in the Atlantic were to lose pressure quickly, we would be very worried about a major hurricane developing.
Category four hurricanes typically have a pressure in the range of 930 or 940, very low considering the standard atmospheric pressure is around 1013 millibars. So to see an area of non-tropical low pressure deepen so quickly and observe such low pressure is definitely a superlative.
Fortunately, this storm is starting to ease as it heads north toward Alaska. However, some of its energy will loosen and become its own storm system Monday night through Tuesday and progress towards Texas. This will result in a front here which will be accompanied by a strong line of showers and thunderstorms with hail and gusts of wind being the main threat.
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Once the storms have passed early Wednesday morning, expect the skies to clear with plenty of sun throughout the weekend and very windy conditions Wednesday through Thursday.