Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Something You Don't See Every Day: T.S. Over Iceland

According to the National Hurricane Center, the remains of now Tropical Storm Leslie which is over Newfoundland will pass just south of Greenland, over south Iceland, and then to just north of Great Britain in the next five days. Winds will still be quite strong with the post-tropical storm.

However, it is discouraging to see NHC making the mistake below.
While St. John's, Newfoundland, recorded a gust of 81 mph, that is not a "hurricane force gust." The Center's own definition of a hurricane is sustained winds of 75 mph or higher, averaged over one minute, not a gust (5-seconds of wind).
click to enlarge
The reason for bringing this up is that thunderstorms that cause 75 mph gusts or stronger in the interior of the U.S. are, these days, increasingly often dubbed "landcanes," "inland hurricanes," etc. But, a single gust of, say, 81 mph will not cause nearly as much damage as a minute or more of sustained winds of 75 mph.

The improper characterization of hurricane winds (using a gust rather than sustained winds) misleads people into thinking a real hurricane will do less damage than it actually will. This was a problem just two weeks ago with Hurricane Isaac. 

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