Incredible storm over the Atlantic touches Europe, Greenland, North America, and the Caribbean. Its intensity is the equivalent of a category 3 hurricane right now.

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Hurricanes, and mid-latitude cyclones like the one in the pic, get their energy out of the atmosphere in different ways. Hurricanes get their energy from the heat released by tons of water vapor condensing into clouds and rain (it’s the reverse process of water stealing heat out of your body to evaporate when you step out of the shower). Mid-latitude cyclones get their energy from the jet stream and a sharp temperature difference along the air near the ground/water.

Their distribution of wind speeds around them are quite different, both horizontally and vertically. A hurricane has its strongest winds near the ground, and this storm has its strongest winds at jet stream level. The comparison of this storm to a category 3 hurricane is only based on the pressure in the center of the storm, so it’s a really simplistic and generally useless comparison. If you were to drive in towards the center of a hurricane, the pressure would get lower very slowly at first, then rapidly decrease as you get close to the center. Driving into this storm, however, you’ll notice the pressure decreasing at a slow-to-moderate rate pretty much through your entire trip.

That was probably more info than you cared to know. Eh. Hope you had fun.

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