Satellite image from October 26 at 4:32PM CDT courtesy of NOAA-NASA GOES Project
No one knows what it will be called yet, but a historic and massive extra-tropical cyclone affected over half of the United States on October 26 and 27. It spawned everything from tornadoes to blizzard conditions, primarily across the Midwest. It was responsible for the warmth and rain in Connecticut over the past few days. Most significantly, this system may have set a new all-time record for low pressure recorded on land in the continental United States. That discounts hurricanes and other weather systems that have been over water.
Look at all that wind! Image courtesy of NWS Duluth
According to the National Weather Service, an automated weather station in Bigfork, Minnesota recorded a sea level pressure of 955.2 hPa, or 28.21 inches of mercury. This is equivalent to a category 3 hurricane (without the same magnitude of destruction). The pressure reading was reached at 5:13 CDT on the 26th while severe weather was flaring up across numerous states. Some spots in the Dakotas and Minnesota were buried in snow and dealing with near hurricane-force winds. Others, especially in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, were dealing with severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. The SPC Storm Report from October 26 below depicts 373 severe events that day alone.
Image courtesy of the SPC
All of that is preliminary data that will have to be confirmed, but it certainly looks like it will be remembered as one of the most notable "superstorms". The system received surprisingly light coverage in the media especially compared to past events like the March 1993 Superstorm. We will have to see what it goes down in the history books as. What has been very evident is a sudden uptick in rare or mega-rare bird sightings across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states. Many were pushed from the west because of this system, whether they were misdirected while heading south or brought up from the southern part of the country. November is typically a notable month in terms of vagrant birds. We seem to be getting started early this year. Connecticut has not uncovered a huge rarity from this event...yet. Be the one to find it!