Oklahoma's Storm ... in Scotland?


Friday, December 9th 2011, 3:27 pm
By: News 9


We talk a lot in Oklahoma about where our weather originates.  We're always looking to the west coast or the Pacific Northwest for our next storm system and how it will impact Oklahoma.  How will the low pressure trough develop?  Will all of the energy move north or south and miss Oklahoma?  Will the ingredients come together and bring precipitation?  We ask so many questions before the storms arrives.  Our job is to tell you how YOU will be impacted by what's on the way.  But what about when the storm ends?  Unless it impacts the eastern U.S. in a big way, we usually don't pay much attention to it.  But do you ever consider the storms that impact Oklahoma may have impacts as far away as western Europe?

If you hadn't already heard, a massive wind storm struck The United Kingdom, and more specifically Scotland, early Thursday morning.  Wind speeds peaked anywhere from 62 mph to 165 mph across the U.K.  The strongest winds were measure in the Scottish highlands where the strongest gust ever recorded in the U.K. was measured at a whopping 173 mph.  Problems included numerous power outages, high surf, lots of flooding, and even high-profile vehicles being toppled on mountain roads.  At the time the storm system was at its strongest, it had a barometric pressure reading of 957mb, comparable to small and moderate-sized hurricanes.  In fact, the strongest winds recorded match those of a strong Category 5 hurricane measured on the Saffir-Simpson scale.  Suffice to say, this was a significant storm system you can actually trace back to ... Oklahoma.  In a sense.

Remember the huge line of rain and storms that moved through last Saturday morning?  As that system moved out of Oklahoma, an area of low pressure developed in the far northern Gulf of Mexico which, after consulting with a good friend and fellow meteorologist, can be traced all the way up the east coast, across the northern Atlantic, and eventually into the western U.K.  I also perused through some upper atmospheric data as well as satellite imagery and in both instances (especially the cloud features in the satellite imagery) you can follow the system all the way to the U.K. 

The next time we have a system move through Oklahoma (Wednesday... hint, hint...), don't just write it off after it leaves Oklahoma.  Follow it to the east coast.  Follow it across the Atlantic.  You never know where Mother Nature might take it.