Wind this morning was impressive, to say the least - this image maps peak wind gust reports. Those who were online last night may have seen my real-time analysis post as the storm strengthened quickly over the Mid-Atlantic, and a strong pressure fall/rise couplet appeared with the storm, in addition to rapid subsidence (sinking air) evident on water vapor imagery behind the storm. Both of these points are referenced in the excellent explanation from the Taunton, MA, National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office regarding the maximum recorded wind gust Thursday morning of 79 mph at Point Judith, RI.
Glenn Field at NWS Taunton shares:
"You may have been wondering about the validity of the 79 mph wind report we listed from Point Judith, RI from 4 AM this morning in our PNS. Upon reviewing this further, we have concluded that it is, in fact, likely to be a real occurrence. (There were also reports of tree and wire damage at Westerly and Scituate and a 63 mph wind gust at Burrillville.) At first thought, you might think it was thunderstorm-related, but the thunderstorms were past there by then. Radar imagery showed a pronounced back edge to the rapidly deepening cyclone. There was a tremendous pressure rise-fall couplet associated with back side of the storm. Forecast model data showed that the 1.5 PV (potential vorticity) surface, which is the best PV surface to approximate the tropopause, was lowering to approximately 550 mb at that time...quite low. If you recall the December 9th event from several years ago, where there were 100+ mph winds gusts with thunderstorms and snow squalls along the south coast/Cape Cod/Islands...the tropopause surface had 'folded' down to as low as 700 mb in that event. In recent years, this feature has gained some notoriety and has been dubbed a 'sting jet' in the professional literature. There was an article in the November, 2010 edition of the Monthly Weather Review journal entitled "Sting Jets in Simulations of a Real Cyclone by Two Mesoscale Models." The original article is from 2004 by K.A. Browning, published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society ("The Sting at the End of the Tail...").
[Thanks to Frank Nocera and Joseph Dellicarpini at BOX for providing the info and references on the sting jet.]"