After a lengthy assessment of station sites and observations, the Colorado Climate Center officially determined that Colorado set a new statewide pressure record during last March’s bomb cyclone.
On March 13th, 2019, the barometric pressure in Lamar dropped down to 970.4 millibars, setting a new statewide record in the process.
“A thorough investigation of available records indicated that (970.4 millibars) was the lowest mean sea level pressure (MSLP) ever observed in Colorado at a trusted weather station,” the Colorado Climate Center wrote in a detailed report on the record earlier this month. “Based on the evaluation of the available information and evidence, the (State Climate Extremes Committee, or SCEC) determined the observation of 970.4 hPa to be valid and moved to establish an inaugural Colorado state record for lowest MSLP.”
The reason this new record is significant is that central pressure is, roughly, the measurement of the strength of a given storm. The lower the central pressure, typically, the stronger the overall storm system – and that often means the stronger the winds associated with a storm.
Pressures as low as 970 millibars are typically associated with that of a Category 2 or 3 hurricane, not a spring snowstorm. Hurricanes and tropical systems gain their energy from warm tropical ocean water, while land-driven storms like the bomb cyclone get most of their power from temperature differences. However, temperature differences over land hardly ever produce a storm as strong as the bomb cyclone.
The record-setting Lamar reading took place on the morning that the bomb cyclone moved through the state. The storm was primarily noted for its winds, although it also dumped several inches of blizzard-driven snow along the Front Range and throughout central and eastern Colorado.
The lengthy Colorado Climate Center review process involved investigating the weather observation site, assessing historical records and determining whether or not past pressure readings were accurate or not.
Because this is the “inaugural” statewide pressure level record, the historical component of the assessment lengthened the amount of time it took to verify Lamar’s pressure reading as the new state record.
“Because there has not previously been an official record low pressure, and historical records of pressure observations are less consistent than for other variables such as temperature and precipitation, numerous methods were employed to identify whether this was the lowest recorded pressure at a station known to be valid,” the report said.
The National Weather Service office in Pueblo also helped ensure the accuracy of the data.
Source: Read Full Article