May 21, 2022 07:00

2021 starts with record-breaking weather

Image: Lucas Revilla Lucas, Unsplash.
Image: Lucas Revilla Lucas, Unsplash.

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North Pacific record broken over New Year’s as Aleutian Islands swept by colossal winter storm.

Reuters reports that a Pacific storm of epic proportions lashed the Aleutian Islands over the holiday period, bringing hurricane-force winds and seas five stories high. Brian Brettschnieder, an NOAA research scientist, said: “It’s the most intense storm ever recorded in the North Pacific, excluding typhoons.”

Forecasters measured a record-low barometric pressure of 921 millibars, equivalent to a category 4 hurricane, and the lowest ever documented reading over the Aleutians. Seas as high as 54 feet and winds reaching 80 miles per hour battered the area.

The waters are plied by cargo ships travelling between Asia and North America, and the region is an important commercial fishing ground. The storm also caused some erosion of Bering sea ice and may have set back sea ice formation, affecting walruses and seal colonies.

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