Friday, January 9, 2015

Cool Image: Nightime Satellite View of Massive North Atlantic Storm Fed By Wicked Jet Stream

From @livingearthapp on Twitter, here's a cool nightime satellite image of a massive storm swirling in the North Atlantic Tuesday night.

Click on the image to make it bigger and easier to see.

You can see the lights of western Europe, dawn breaking over Asia, and some of the lights of eastern North America peeking off to the left.

But the main story is that storm. You get big storms in the North Atlantic this time of year, so this is to be expected. But they are beautiful, aren't they?

Click on the image to make it bigger and easier to see.

H/T to Anthony Sagliani, @anthonywx on Twitter, for calling this to everyone's attention Tuesday night.

The storm is part of an incredibly fast jet stream that has developed across the North Atlantic, stretching from the northeastern United States all the way to Britain and Scandanavia.

This unusually fast jet stream is having a variety of interesting effects today. It helped strengthen what should have been a weak weather front crossing the Northeast this morning.

The jet pushed air away, making more air rise along the front, so a well defined blast of 1-3 inches of snow in just a couple hours fell in the New York City metro area during the rush hour. Boo! Hiss!

The heavy snow band was heading toward Boston at mid-morning.

Ahead of this front, some of the jet stream's screaming winds have mixed down to the surface over parts of southeastern New England. Winds could gust as high as 65 mph over Cape Cod and the Islands today. 

It's even windy where I live, in the northwestern corner of Vermont. Winds are gusting to about 35 mph at my house this morning.

If you're in a hurry to get to Europe today, or wanted to get there fast yesterday, this screaming jet stream is a good thing.

The high upper level winds pushed airliners bound from the United States to Europe wicked fast. It usually takes a little over six hours to fly from New York to London.

But according to Mashable, British Airways Flight 114 bound from New York to London completed its journey in five hours and 16 minutes.  
A representation of the powerful jet stream
screaming across the North Atlantic this week.  

Other flights had similar fast trips.

Of course, heading from London to New York took longer than usual. You can't have everything.

The fast jet stream is contributing to the development of some strong, very windy storm in northwestern Europe, too.

The storminess, and the jet stream, is feeding off a strong contrast between low pressure to the north, and high pressure to the south. Northern parts of Great Britain, in particular, are caught in the pressure gradient between the north and south.

The Telegraph UK said one of the jet stream-fed storms struck Scotland last night, bringing winds of up to 113 mph to the town of Stornoway. That's the highest wind measured there since 1970.

There is some structural damage, widespread power failures and tree damage in much of Scotland, including in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

It was the same storm that you see in the satellite image at the top of this post.

Storms in Britain, and the jet stream, will calm down a bit over the coming days. But this is the season where you sometimes get especially powerful jet streams in the Northern Hemisphere.

Which is partly why it can get so damn stormy this time of year.

I guess we need to keep hanging on to our hats.

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