Why meteorologists are already calling this storm historic

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Before this week’s storm system even arrived, meteorologists were calling it historic.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Woody Unruh said there are two reasons for that.

"The first one is going to be the strength of this system," Unruh said.

Strength is measured in terms of pressure.

"We measure pressure in what’s known as millibars. And so the record was set back in 1948 of 976.6 millibars," Unruh said.

Wednesday’s storm could rival that record. The second reason for the historic classification is the wind.

"We do have gusts getting up to 40, 50, even 60 miles an hour in some places, particularly over northwest Wisconsin," Unruh said.

The National Weather Service hasn’t issued such a widespread high wind warning ever.

"Typically, the tree cover helps to reduce those high winds," Unruh said. "But in this case, this is just such a strong system that it’s going to kind of overcome that effect from the forest around here."

He recommends tying things down or bringing stuff inside.

And if those two reasons aren’t enough to track, the Weather Service also has to keep a close eye on the potential for severe storms.

This is the very first time the Storm Prediction Center has put areas of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa under moderate risk for severe thunderstorms in the month of December.

"Which might not sound too extreme with moderate risk, but it is the second highest level of risk they can issue for severe weather," Unruh explained.

Parts of the Northland are falling into the slight risk category.

"I looked back in our records here for climatology, and we’ve actually never issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the month of December within our Duluth forecast coverage area," Unruh said.

So whatever comes our way, there are plenty of reasons history has already been made.