October hurricane season outlook

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:51 PM GMT on October 02, 2008

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Climatologically, the first half of October is part of the peak portion of hurricane season. Activity does not begin to drop off significantly until mid-October (Figure 1). During the 13-year active Atlantic hurricane period that began in 1995, we've averaged 2.7 named storms, 1.1 hurricanes, and 0.5 intense hurricanes during the month of October. The busiest October on record was 2005, when seven named storms, three hurricanes, and one intense hurricane occurred (including Wilma, the strongest hurricane on record).


Figure 1. Climatology of Atlantic hurricanes and tropical storms.

Far fewer Cape Verdes-type hurricanes form between Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands during October, compared to September (Figure 2). Many of those that do form recurve out to sea, and the odds are that hurricane season is over for the Lesser Antilles Islands. Only four October hurricanes have affected these islands since 1851. Hurricane season is also probably over for Texas, which which has only seen three October hurricanes since 1851. Hurricane season is definitely not over for Central America, Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, the U.S. coast from Louisiana to New England, plus Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the islands of the central and western Caribbean.


Figure 2. Tracks of all hurricane and tropical storms forming in the first half of October.

Sea Surface Temperatures
Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) and oceanic heat content are declining now, but are still plenty warm enough to support a major hurricane in some regions. In particular, the entire Caribbean is 0.5-1.0°C above average in temperature, as are the waters off the U.S. East Coast (Figure 3). The waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Bahamas are quite cool, due to the lingering effects of the passage of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav. Due to these SST patterns, a major hurricane would be most likely to affect the Western Caribbean.


Figure 3. Departure of Sea Surface Temperature (SST) from average for October 2, 2008. Image credit: NOAA.

Wind Shear
The latest 15-day wind shear forecast from the GFS model predicts that wind shear across the tropical Atlantic will remain in the average to below average range. In the longer term, wind shear is predicted by NOAA's CFS model to remain below average over the Caribbean for October through December.

When will activity pick up again?
There is an oscillation in the atmosphere I've talked a little about, called the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO). The MJO is a pattern of enhanced rainfall that travels along the Equator, and can act to boost hurricane activity when it propagates into the Atlantic. The MJO has a period of about 30-60 days, and is currently in its active phase over the Atlantic. According to the latest 15-day GFS model forecast and the MJO discussion from the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center, we are expected to remain in an active phase for the MJO over the Atlantic for at least the next two weeks. This year, the active phase of the MJO has been strongly correlated with formation of named storms in the Atlantic. According to the latest analysis by Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University (Table 4, below), ten of the last eleven named storms in the Atlantic this year formed during an active phase of the MJO. We can anticipate an above average chance of tropical storm formation in the Atlantic this October as a result.



The forecast
Due to above average SSTs in the Caribbean, an active phase of the MJO, and average to below average wind shear over the tropical Atlantic this month, we can expect levels of tropical storm activity similar to what has been seen in past Octobers, since the current active hurricane phase began in 1995. However, the models are showing nothing forming over the next week, and the tropics look pretty quiet right now. In consequence, I am expecting two named storms and one hurricane this month. There is a 50/50 chance this hurricane will be an intense hurricane. The October forecast from Colorado State University is more aggressive, and calls for 3 named storms, 2 hurricanes, and one major hurricane.

Steering currents
Now that it is October, the jet stream is more active and farther south, resulting in increased chances of recurvature for tropical cyclones. However, the latest 15-day GFS model forecast predicts more high pressure than usual over the Eastern U.S., which will result in longer recurvature delays than is usual for October storms. Thus, the risk of an October hurricane hitting the U.S. East Coast is higher than average this year.

Summary of Hurricane Ike relief efforts
When a major hurricane hits, relief efforts are always confused and don't reach many areas with great needs. Thus, a group of wunderground bloggers mobilized the day after Ike hit to help out. Their goal was to provide immediate help where traditional aid efforts were coming short, with a focus on providing equipment for people with disabilities and a full spectrum of relief supplies to smaller communities often neglected. Traditional, professional relief efforts are weighed down by bureaucracy and cannot respond as nimbly as smaller, grass-roots relief efforts can. I believe our dollars have been well-spent by the relief effort organized by our own Patrap, Presslord, and Stormjunkie, under the banner of Portlight Strategies, Inc. They have responded quickly and delivered much-needed aid to communities hard-hit by Ike that were being under-served. The people involved in the relief effort were very passionate about serving, and they have sacrificed their time, sleep, health, and money to support this cause. I support their efforts to continue spending the money that was donated to the cause in the way intended. The passion they put into this effort led to conflicts when disagreements arose over how to operate this effort, though. In the haste to go from zero to 100 mph in a few days, and without a supporting bureaucracy or strategic plan to guide their efforts, it should be no surprise that there was confusion and mis-communication. I do not fault any of the people involved for the problems that have arisen. Rather, blame Hurricane Ike! Hurricanes cause chaos, and there was certainly plenty of that on the blogs last weekend. It's good to have these kinds of problems, which are, in part, due to the extraordinary and unexpected generosity of all of you who have contributed.

During a one hour conference call I participated in yesterday, Paul Timmons, Jr. (AKA Presslord), one of the founding Board members of portlight.org, pulled together a new advisory board for portlight.org. The board members are myself, Patrick Pearson (Patrap), John Wilbanks (Storm Junkie), Rob Ingham (Rainman32), Deb Nowinski (EmmyRose), and Kelly Timmons (Paul's wife, and accountant for Portlight.org). It was agreed at the meeting that Paul would been given the final authority to write all checks, but that the board would advise him on how the money should be spent. When a check is written, all members of the board will receive a notification via email. The current plan is to spend the available funds to deliver donated goods (mostly medical equipment for people with disabilities) to the Hurricane Ike devastation areas. The goods will be delivered by ground freight shipments, and by rented trucks driven by some of the advisory board members. About $9000 of the donated money will not be spent at this time, because it has been put in escrow at the advice of Portlight's lawyer. This money is being held in escrow because of the threat of legal action made against Portlight in the chaos last weekend. The money will remain in escrow until Portlight's lawyer advises them otherwise.

Now that the chaos has subsided and everyone on the advisory board has agreed we should move ahead, I am ready to once again endorse contributions. The WUBA Hurricane Ike relief fund, initially founded by Patrap, is controlled by Portlight Strategies, Inc., a 501c3 charity run by Paul Timmons, Jr. (Presslord) and three other board members. All donations are 100% tax deductible. The mission statement of Portlight is co-opting with individuals as well as other organizations to cut through red tape in order to directly meet the specific needs of unserved, under served, and forgotten people.

Donations can be sent via check and via PayPal. The funds are then transferred to the portlight.org checking account, and Presslord has been writing checks from this account to fund the relief efforts. As of this writing, there is about $1000 "stuck" in a defunct PayPal account because of a dispute over protocol. An agreement has been reached that this money will be released to the portlight.org checking account and used to fund relief efforts, though. Here's a breakdown of how much money has been donated, and how much spent. Figures are rounded to the nearest $100. More details can be found on StormJunkie's blog:

Total money donated: $31,200 (about 400 donors)
Total money spent so far: $10,350
Total money in the portlight.org checking account: $21,000
--$9,000 in escrow for legal defense
--$12,000 available for immediate relief operations
Total money in the original Paypal account set up by Patrap: $1000
Total money in the new Paypal account set up by Presslord: $250

Here's how the $10350 has been spent:

WalMart - $2000 - supplies
Costco - $1000 - supplies
Patrick Pearson (Patrap) - $1000 (fuel, rental costs for a truck)
Truck from Charleston - $1500 - fuel
Florida supply truck - $2100 - escort, credentialing, fuel, vehicle repair, lodging
Crew food,lodging, transport home - $1000
Truck rental, gas for truck from Atlanta - $1750

The biggest coup for the effort came when Paul arranged to get about $150,000 worth of medical equipment donated to the cause. Rob Ingham (AKA Rainman32) and Roger Knight (AKA NLimbo) received took a rented truck to Atlanta, grabbed the gear, and delivered it to Houston. In the shipment:

Four Gaylord boxes medical supplies
-Soft casts
-various catheter kits
-catheter bags
-oxygen tubing kits
-other misc. medical supplies
13 hospital bed mattresses and pressure pads
2 Gaylord boxes of sanitized walkers (20 per box)
4 Gaylord boxes of unsanitized walkers (20 per box)
2 pallets with two electric wheelchairs each (4)
100 pairs of crutches
30 bedside commodes sanitized
6 gerry chairs

I've been impressed by the dedication and effort put into this work by all the people involved. This is a much-needed humanitarian effort that has sprung up from the remarkable community we have here. I thank each one of you for participating. I do ask that all comments about the relief efforts on this blog be positive ones. There is no need to point out the mistakes of the past, which are painfully obvious. Portlight has plans to extend this effort into the future, and I plan to become a regular donor in coming years for the future hurricane disasters that will inevitably visit our shores.

If there's no activity or forecast activity in the tropics, I may leave this blog up for a few days.

Jeff Masters

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694. Seastep
3:47 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting vortfix:
Is it just me, or is the wave at 57W not acting like it should given the shear charts

Shear is evident to me.

RGB Loop






Of course there is shear. The question is more how much that shear is affecting the wave. With my untrained (but experienced) eye, I would expect the heavy areas to not be able to proceed W w/ the wave. From watching previous systems, with that shear it should be, at best, stationary while the wave keeps moving W. ala Hanna or many other waves this year. Shear has been destroying systems left and right this year.

Just doesn't seem to look like I have seen previously under the same general conditions.

I would expect the "blob" to be displaced from the wave much more and that is not happening. JMO.
Member Since: September 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3414
693. seflagamma
3:42 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
new blog up.
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 302 Comments: 40958
692. Skyepony (Mod)
3:40 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
MJO is lurking around. If we see it dive out of the circle deep into 8 or 1 we maybe in for something named..

Bahama blob is gone now. We may see 1 or more new navy invests today. Looking at the big pic, I don't see anything backing that front back over FL in the short term so Cuba/Bahamas are at biggest risk for NOAA declared invest at the moment. The blob approaching the east Caribbean is being harrassed pretty heavily by an Upper Level Low (naked swirl to the north). Should keep it in check.. Seastep~ I suspect the ULL is fanning the upper levels causing plenty of diffluence aloft.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 227 Comments: 39457
691. islandgirl725
3:40 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
new blog
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689. Bonedog
3:30 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
LOL NE
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
688. NEwxguy
3:25 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting BonInBama:


Self-effacing humor is SO much more attractive than the blow-hards who think they know it all....going back to lurking mode.


There Orca, you have fan.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 888 Comments: 15989
687. Seastep
3:23 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Is it just me, or is the wave at 57W not acting like it should given the shear charts?

Link

Doesn't look on sat to be reacting as would be expected given the shear environment to me.

With that level of shear, I would expect to see all that convection being displaced to the E and NE, but it doesn't seem to be having any problem moving W along w/ the wave.

Can someone explain this? TIA.
Member Since: September 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3414
686. BonInBama
3:21 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting Orcasystems:


Might I also point out.. my looks scares most cameras.. so alas, even the "talking head" position is out :)


Self-effacing humor is SO much more attractive than the blow-hards who think they know it all....going back to lurking mode.
682. Patrap
3:10 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
GOM,Caribbean Low Cloud Product Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
681. Bonedog
3:09 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
just checked the CPE all the 850s off the old front are forecasted cold cores.


Still nothing showing the carib Im thinking just enhanced activity due to the trough. Lets see what happens over the weekend when I washes out.
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
680. NEwxguy
3:09 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting Bonedog:
NE funny you say that a few models are showing 850 vorts along the old front


That doesn't surprise me,this time of year,when the fronts hang around,when the conditions are right something usually gets going.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 888 Comments: 15989
679. Patrap
3:09 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
RTAP

GOES-12 Atmospheric Imagery Link

These images are primarily for use in tropical storm monitoring. There are several areas to choose from providing a large-scale view of the Atlantic, down to the Gulf of Mexico. During hurricane season, the hurricanes page provides a variety of GOES atmospheric products to help monitor the active storms.

Follow the image links for alternate channel views of the same area.
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678. Bonedog
3:05 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
off the east coast I should have said
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677. BahaHurican
3:05 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting Orcasystems:


The models for days now have been trying to get something develop in the BOC or Caribbean.. and all of the new runs, show it trying also.. but nothing develops for at least another 90 hours (CMC).

I know I know.. the CMC is not a good choice.. but I am a Canuck.. I go with what we got :)
Hey, you have been using that "Canuck" excuse a lot recently . . ..

LOL

Morning, everybody. Going in to work late today. We are having the first real sunshine here all week; since Tuesday it's been overcast and intermittently rainy. It's interesting that the front is likely to retrograde rather than dissipate.

I'm going to get out of here in a little while - gotta go get ready for work - but I'm glad to see we still have a few more days before we can expect any tropical formation.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22736
676. Bonedog
3:05 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
NE funny you say that a few models are showing 850 vorts along the old front
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675. KendallHurricane
3:03 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
If it does develop would it move towards western cuba and Sw Florida
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674. KendallHurricane
3:02 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
i wonder why the computer models are not predicting development in the carribean???? the broad area of low pressure is looking good slowly
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673. NEwxguy
3:00 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Wouldn't be surprised to see something get going on the old front,but it would be slow developement and probably not until next week sometime.
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672. Bonedog
2:56 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Back. Sorry work interupted my blogging :)

Yea Im getting through now NE


seems we have two camps with the carib blob.
1) nothing will happen
2) its going to be the next storm

there is a third camp but we can religate them tot he Darwin Awards LOL
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671. KendallHurricane
2:51 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
looks like something is getting cranked up in the northwest caribbean
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670. NEwxguy
2:49 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Looks like the blog has come to a screeching halt again
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669. presslord
2:42 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Enoloa....my allergies are so bad right now....I'm actually thinking of moving to......Canada......
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668. Tazmanian
2:36 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
The first item I want to discuss is a broad area of low pressure that is located over the northwestern Caribbean Sea. Satellite imagery indicates that there are showers and thunderstorms associated with this low pressure system. Currently, wind shear values over this system are unfavorable for development and I do not anticipate development over the next day or two. Little movement is expected this weekend from this system and it should be noted that none of the global models forecast development from this system. With that said, this system will be watched closely as it is forecast to sit in the northwestern Caribbean over the next couple of days and environmental conditions may become more favorable this weekend for development. If this system does develop over the next 3 to 5 days and starts tracking north and northeast, it will be ripped apart by very strong wind shear just to its north. So, overall I give this system a low chance of developing today through Saturday.
Next week, I will be watching the area from off of the US Southeast coast through the western Caribbean for "homegrown" development. The global models continue to forecast that an area of high pressure will build over southeastern Canada by Tuesday abd remain in place through Thursday. A easterly wind flow will then develop in the area of the Bahamas with lowering pressures over the Caribbean. This type of weather pattern may pop a tropical depression or a tropical storm somewhere between the Bahamas and the western Caribbean next week. The UKMET and European models are forecasting a non-tropical storm to form southeast of New England on Tuesday and Wednesday and forecasts it to sit out in the open Atlantic through the Columbus Day weekend. The NOGAPS and Canadian models also forecast some sort of low pressure system to form east of the Bahamas around the middle of next week. So, the overall pattern next week suggests the area between off of the US Southeast Coast and the western Caribbean will have to be watched closely.
Finally, The MJO forecast calls for a very strong pulse in the Atlantic and Caribbean starting around October 11th. The overall pattern during the second half of October suggests that it is possible that we may see a landfalling tropical system in the United States due to high pressure near the US East Coast. It should be noted that the long range GFS model continues to forecast that activity may pick up in earnest starting around Columbus Day weekend and continuing through at least October 18th. So, this is something that I am going to continue to keep a very close eye on and I will keep you all updated.
The next tropical weather discussion will be issued by 10 am EDT Saturday morning



from here


Link
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667. Orcasystems
2:35 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting NEwxguy:


You would probably be able to get a job as one of my local mets on tv with those credentials.


Might I also point out.. my looks scares most cameras.. so alas, even the "talking head" position is out :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
666. NEwxguy
2:30 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting Orcasystems:


Thats being said.. remember, I can post pretty pictures, and read a model, and post more pretty pictures.. but I could not forecast my way out of a wet paper bag.. so take it for what its worth.. not much.


You would probably be able to get a job as one of my local mets on tv with those credentials.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 888 Comments: 15989
665. Orcasystems
2:28 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting Enola:

Thanks for checking Orca. Just was hoping. Allergies are fierce right now.


Thats being said.. remember, I can post pretty pictures, and read a model, and post more pretty pictures.. but I could not forecast my way out of a wet paper bag.. so take it for what its worth.. not much.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
664. lawntonlookers
2:25 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Good morning everyone. Must have been a problem posting earlier. Some interesting circulation at 24N 44W that is heading W. Also right off of the N Coast of Honduras.

I see that they are getting light snow on Mt. Washington, NH. 27 F
Member Since: March 22, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1570
663. Enola
2:24 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting Orcasystems: Only in the SW corner.. and nothing I can see approaching from further out...

Thanks for checking Orca. Just was hoping. Allergies are fierce right now.
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662. NEwxguy
2:24 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
hey,Bone,see you are getting through now.
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661. Bonedog
2:23 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Morning NE
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659. Orcasystems
2:21 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
-
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
658. NEwxguy
2:20 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting Orcasystems:


ROFLMAO, flipping thru the charts.. where the "H" is Colorado..... I'll find it.


Right above New Mexico
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 888 Comments: 15989
657. Orcasystems
2:19 PM GMT on October 03, 2008


Only in the SW corner.. and nothing I can see approaching from further out.. That being said.. thats a StormW/TampaSpin type question.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
656. Enola
2:18 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting Orcasystems:


ROFLMAO, flipping thru the charts.. where the "H" is Colorado..... I'll find it.

Well, at least it proves I have a sense of humor. :)
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 269
655. Bonedog
2:18 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Appears it is :)
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654. Bonedog
2:17 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
is this thing working yet?
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
653. fmbill
2:17 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting Orcasystems:


ROFLMAO, flipping thru the charts.. where the "H" is Colorado..... I'll find it.


Well...if there's an "H" over Colorado, I doubt they'll get any rain. LOL!!!
Member Since: May 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 469
652. Orcasystems
2:14 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting Enola:
Orca, any decent chance of rain in eastern Colorado? We're dyin' here.


ROFLMAO, flipping thru the charts.. where the "H" is Colorado..... I'll find it.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
651. KBH
2:14 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting stoormfury:
KBH this is more than a tropical wave i believeit is an area of disturbed weather with a low level ciculation near 11n 56w and moving wnw/ the area should be watched as pressures are low in the area. recently in st lucia we had 40mph gusts from the ne .this is no ordinary tropical wave

Well, what you see is direct from the local Met guys. I have not got the sat & tech info, but I agree with you, there is more in this one than just a wave. Right now the first rains temporarily stopped (started about 1hr ago)no winds at all, but lots of lightning & thunder activity now,....waiting to see when it becomes and invest
Member Since: August 28, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 278
650. SWFLDigTek
2:12 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting stormmaven:


That is the $64,000 question . What really happened?


Apparently they revised the list of featured blogs...
Like so much dirty laundry here I might suggest that if you feel you need answers to ask them thru WUMail...
I consider his knowledge of tropical weather to be excellent and feel no need to worry about it, his blog is still up and can easily be found.
Member Since: August 31, 2008 Posts: 117 Comments: 398
649. Enola
2:12 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Orca, any decent chance of rain in eastern Colorado? We're dyin' here.
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 269
648. NEwxguy
2:11 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Yesterday's blog was a mess,very little tropical discussion,hopefully we can keep it tropical oriented today,Please!
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647. lawntonlookers
2:10 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
The BLOG eater is at it this morning.
Member Since: March 22, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1570
646. Enola
2:09 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting cchsweatherman:
Good Friday morning all! Hope all is well with everyone. Just wanted to deliver my Tropical Update for this morning before doing some chores around the house.

Thanks cchs!
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 269
645. Orcasystems
2:08 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Mind you.. it also shows this.. in 90 hours.



The one in the Atlantic
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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