Laura Only Ranks 17th For Minimum Pressure

By Paul Homewood

 Hurricane Laura

Hurricane Laura

Much has been reported about Hurricane Laura’s wind speeds of 130 Kts at landfall, which if true would make it the fifth most powerful hurricane at landfall to hit the US, tied with five others:


However atmospheric pressure tells a rather different story. When Laura made landfall, the minimum pressure recorded was 938 mb. This would rank it as only tie 17th strongest.


Atmospheric pressure does not always precisely correlate with wind speeds, as surrounding air pressure can be a factor. Also smaller hurricanes, such as Labor Day and Andrew tend to have higher wind speeds, as the isobars are more tightly packed.

Nevertheless, none of these factors seem to have been relevant with Laura. Given the ways that wind speeds are measured have changed over the years, atmospheric pressure should always be regarded as a more accurate comparison of a hurricane’s strength. Indeed, pressure is the main way in which windspeeds have been measured in the past, when there was little ground data available.

Laura may have had wind speeds of 130 Kts, as claimed. But the logic suggests many more storms had higher wind speeds in the past than the official records show.


August 31, 2020 at 11:30AM

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