The 2018 Storm of the Century, also known as the '16 Super Storm, the Great Blizzard of 2018, or Winter Storm Kayla, was a large cyclonic storm that formed over the Gulf of Mexico on February 22, 2018. The storm eventually dissipated in the North Atlantic Ocean on February 26, 2018. It was unique for its intensity, massive size, and wide-reaching effects, particularly in the southeastern United States. At its height, the storm stretched from Canada to Central America, but it impacted mainly the eastern United States and Cuba. The cyclone moved through the Gulf of Mexico and then through the eastern United States before moving onto Canada.
During February 20 and 21, 2018, temperatures over much of the eastern United States began to drop as an arctic high pressure system built over the Midwest and Great Plains. The extratropical low pressure area formed in Mexico and moved eastward into the Gulf of Mexico along a stationary front, which developed thunderstorm activity near its center. A strong, short wave trough in the southern branch of the polar jet stream strengthened the surface low pressure area. As the area of low pressure moved through the central Gulf of Mexico, a short wave trough in the northern branch of the jet stream fused with the system in the southern stream, which further strengthened the surface low. A squall line developed along the system's cold front, which moved rapidly across the eastern Gulf of Mexico through Florida. The cyclone's center moved into north-west Florida early on the morning of February 21, 2016 with a significant storm surge in the northwestern Florida peninsula that drowned several people.
Barometric pressures recorded during the storm were low. Readings of 876.0mb were recorded in Tallahassee, Florida, and even lower readings of 860.0mb were observed in New England. Usually such low readings near the coast of the Gulf of Mexico are observed only in hurricanes of category 2 intensity on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale scale or within cyclonic storms at sea. Snow began to spread over the eastern United States, and a large squall line moved from the Gulf of Mexico into Florida. The storm system tracked up the East Coast during Monday and into Canada by early Monday morning. In the storm's wake, record cold temperatures were recorded over the next day or two in the southeast.
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