Dec 29, 2015 by


The same weather system that spawned devastating storms across a large swath of the country over the weekend is expected to “explode” into a monstrous storm over Iceland by Wednesday. The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang notes that although big storms are common in the winter,  this particular storm will bring a surge of heat with it pushing temperatures at the North Pole up to 50 degrees above normal. The storm will contribute more misery to recently flooded areas in the United Kingdom as well.

By Wednesday morning, when the storm reaches Iceland and nears maximum strength, its minimum pressure is forecast to be near 923 mb, which would rank among the great storms of the North Atlantic. (Note: there is some uncertainty as to how much it will intensify. The European model only drops the minimum pressure to around 936 mb, which is strong but not that unusual). Winds of hurricane force are likely to span hundreds of miles in the North Atlantic.

The UK Met Office cautions “a swathe of gale and severe gale force winds” may blast parts of the west and northern UK while heavy rains, capable of flooding, drench western and northern Britain. Parts of England, Scotland and Wales are only now recovering from “very serious flooding” over the weekend.

Ahead of the storm, the surge of warm air making a beeline towards the North Pole is astonishing.

In the animation above, warm air (red shades) will explode toward the pole in the next couple of days.


It’s as if a bomb went off. And, in fact, it did. The exploding storm acts a remarkably efficient heat engine, drawing warm air from the tropics to the top of the Earth.

The GFS model projects the temperature at the North Pole to reach near freezing or 32 degrees early Wednesday. Consider the average winter temperature there is around 40 degrees below zero. If the temperature rises to freezing, it would signify a departure from normal of over 70 degrees.

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