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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494. Noil
4:19 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Would be a cool present but way out of my price range ... could do the $20 version but right now saving my pennies for a new DSLR.

If you get the $400 one lets us know how it is!

Quoting Orcasystems:


Hmmm been awhile since I bought myself a present :)
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493. Orcasystems
4:17 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting Noil:
The Pro sells for $400 and the Plus sells for $20

http://earth.google.com/





Hmmm been awhile since I bought myself a present :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
492. Noil
4:17 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
The Pro sells for $400 and the Plus sells for $20

http://earth.google.com/



Quoting Orcasystems:


Whats the pro version worth.. any idea?
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491. Orcasystems
4:11 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
490. DDR 4:10 AM GMT on October 03, 2008 Hide this comment.

Quoting JRRP:
nice convection 10n 57w

Hopefully i'll get some rain from that tomorrow.



Yup, your going to get wet :)



Click to enlarge
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
490. DDR
4:10 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting JRRP:
nice convection 10n 57w

Hopefully i'll get some rain from that tomorrow.
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489. Orcasystems
4:02 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting zoomiami:
Totally off topic - this pic shows what the professional version of google earth can do.Link


Whats the pro version worth.. any idea?
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
488. zoomiami
3:56 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Totally off topic - this pic shows what the professional version of google earth can do.Link
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 4161
487. Orcasystems
3:43 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting zoomiami:


lol - thanks


Seems pretty simple to me Zoo :)
Have fun
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
486. Greyelf
10:37 PM CDT on October 02, 2008
Quoting zoomiami:
What happens is when I get too many names in a state, its easier to divide up by geographic region.

Florida is divided into south, central, north.

TIA

I'm from Nebraska, and it's pretty easy to divide. "Where most everyone lives" = east 4th of the state. "Nothing but ranchland" = all the rest of the state further west. :)
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485. JRRP
3:40 AM GMT on Octubre 03, 2008
nice convection 10n 57w
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484. zoomiami
3:37 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting finecraft:


Zoo- Louisiana here. Here's how we divide our state: Everything West and North of Alexandria (located in the middle of the state) belongs to East Texas. Everything East and North of Alexandria belongs to South Arkansas. Baton Rouge area is it's own independent state. New Orleans area is it's own separate country. Lafayette area is a colony of France (Cajun Country), Lake Charles is a suburb of Houston.
All kidding aside, why don't you just divide it in half East and West at Alexandria, then divide the Southern portion in half North and South half way between Baton Rouge and Lafayette.


lol - thanks
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 4161
483. finecraft
3:15 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting zoomiami:
Is anyone on from Louisiana tonight? I need to divide the state up for purposes of google earth, and would like to know how you refer to the different areas.

Texas also.

What happens is when I get too many names in a state, its easier to divide up by geographic region.

Florida is divided into south, central, north.

TIA


Zoo- Louisiana here. Here's how we divide our state: Everything West and North of Alexandria (located in the middle of the state) belongs to East Texas. Everything East and North of Alexandria belongs to South Arkansas. Baton Rouge area is it's own independent state. New Orleans area is it's own separate country. Lafayette area is a colony of France (Cajun Country), Lake Charles is a suburb of Houston.
All kidding aside, why don't you just divide it in half East and West at Alexandria, then divide the Southern portion in half North and South half way between Baton Rouge and Lafayette.
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482. Orcasystems
3:19 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
deleted, double post
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
481. zoomiami
3:21 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting IMA:
I get on graphics "kicks" but then lose patience. lol Y'all are a great team ;)


describes me perfectly!
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 4161
480. Orcasystems
3:14 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting zoomiami:
Thanks - Orca, IMA

Actually IMA I feel like I've been slacking - haven't made many updates.

I enjoy the map, like talking with the folks, learning new places.

I'm still not sure the graphics part is for me, don't seem to have much patience.


For those of you that do not know.. Zoo has done over 18 complete updates of this file.
Thats probably in excess of 300 hours of work.
This does not include unusual requests.. like finishing a complete update, then listening to me whine to have florida cut into groups.... she then redid the entire update.

Every time she does an update... she has to go thru each individual group.. and rearrange them alphabetically.. the program does not do that for her automatically.

So.. slacking.. not damn likely


And.. last but not least... she had to answer and or respond to an email request to be added.. by every single person on there.


Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
479. IMA
10:11 PM CDT on October 02, 2008
I get on graphics "kicks" but then lose patience. lol Y'all are a great team ;)
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478. zoomiami
3:09 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Thanks - Orca, IMA

Actually IMA I feel like I've been slacking - haven't made many updates.

I enjoy the map, like talking with the folks, learning new places.

I'm still not sure the graphics part is for me, don't seem to have much patience.
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 4161
477. IMA
10:04 PM CDT on October 02, 2008
Oh, shoot! That map's cool but I was worried that what I was saying was too much of a break-down and that map was too much for me and I've lived here since age 2. lol Tom started throwing in "Balcones Escarpment", etc. when I was reading those off. lol He just wanted me to feel stoooopid ;) You're so dedicated, Zoo! You can't stop workin' even when you're not at work, huh? :)
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476. IMA
9:55 PM CDT on October 02, 2008
Quoting zoomiami:
Is anyone on from Louisiana tonight? I need to divide the state up for purposes of google earth, and would like to know how you refer to the different areas.

Texas also.

What happens is when I get too many names in a state, its easier to divide up by geographic region.

Florida is divided into south, central, north.

TIA


Surprise! I'm never in the main blog lately, been soooo insane (me and life lol) since Ike, but TX is usually divided into: West, Panhandle, Coastal, Hill Country, South, East, Central, & the Valley. :) Clear as mud? LOL
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475. Orcasystems
2:58 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting zoomiami:


Thanks!

Excellent Job Zoo
My God you have a ton of people on there
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
474. zoomiami
2:53 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting gardentroll:
This map seems to be accurate for Texas. Hope it helps.

http://www.texascenter.org/almanac/m.regions.gif


Thanks!
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 4161
473. zoomiami
2:52 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
What I'm trying to do is for the mass file. I think that your idea of making your own "places" file is a good one.

Will put instructions on website how to do that.
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 4161
472. tkeith
9:47 PM CDT on October 02, 2008
Yes Zoo, but even that distinction is in and around the New Orleans area. I really dont know what the best way to divide it up geographically would be...
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471. Orcasystems
2:46 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting tkeith:
hey Zoo I'm in La. but i've only been here three years... I just know east bank and west bank..lol..I'll leave that for the natives..


I know for posting the maps.. when I have to many nick.. I make a separate folder with the regulars names in them.. that way people can at least see where most of the posters are from.. I know its not fair, but if I didn't do that.. it would be just be a blob of names.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
470. gardentroll
2:43 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
This map seems to be accurate for Texas. Hope it helps.

http://www.texascenter.org/almanac/m.regions.gif
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469. zoomiami
2:45 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting tkeith:
hey Zoo I'm in La. but i've only been here three years... I just know east bank and west bank..lol..I'll leave that for the natives..


east bank and west bank of the river?
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 4161
468. tkeith
9:41 PM CDT on October 02, 2008
hey Zoo I'm in La. but i've only been here three years... I just know east bank and west bank..lol..I'll leave that for the natives..
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467. Thundercloud01221991
2:41 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting zoomiami:
Is anyone on from Louisiana tonight? I need to divide the state up for purposes of google earth, and would like to know how you refer to the different areas.

Texas also.

What happens is when I get too many names in a state, its easier to divide up by geographic region.

Florida is divided into south, central, north.

TIA


coastline and non coastline
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
465. Orcasystems
2:38 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting zoomiami:
Is anyone on from Louisiana tonight? I need to divide the state up for purposes of google earth, and would like to know how you refer to the different areas.

Texas also.

What happens is when I get too many names in a state, its easier to divide up by geographic region.

Florida is divided into south, central, north.

TIA


North/South?
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
464. Orcasystems
2:37 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
New Updates
CMC .... Caribbean (Hour 60)
CMC .... Two lows in BOC (Hour 96)
CMC .... Caribbean (Hour 180)
CMC ... Eastern Seaboard (Hour 192)
CMC ... Caribbean Part 2 (Hour 204)
CMC 00Z..
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
463. zoomiami
2:15 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Is anyone on from Louisiana tonight? I need to divide the state up for purposes of google earth, and would like to know how you refer to the different areas.

Texas also.

What happens is when I get too many names in a state, its easier to divide up by geographic region.

Florida is divided into south, central, north.

TIA
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 4161
462. hurricane23
10:32 PM EDT on October 02, 2008
Quoting Chicklit:
Hi Adrian,
Did I hear stationary or slow moving?


Hi chicklit!

Yea thunderstorm activity could fester down there for a few days.
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461. Chicklit
9:31 PM EST on October 02, 2008
You're still in the seasonal cone KeyWestMan so don't celebrate yet.
I think Central Florida is out for this year.
Definitely cooler skies here now.
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460. Chicklit
9:29 PM EST on October 02, 2008
Hi Adrian,
Did I hear stationary or slow moving?
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458. Thundercloud01221991
2:25 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
I have had on and off sleet/rain/hail today here in W NY unforecasted as well
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457. KEHCharleston
10:20 PM EDT on October 02, 2008
Cooler and dry (65% humidity) here in Charleston, a taste of fall to come.
Fall not here yet - skies still the pale washed-out blue of summer. Halloween and the Fair usually usher in fall for us.
G'night all.
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456. hurricane23
10:17 PM EDT on October 02, 2008
keywestman....

I'll tell you what the caribbean this time of the year is a prime location for tropical cyclone development and always has the potential to spell trouble for southern florida as any development in that region is likely to track north or northeast towards cuba/bahamas and southeast florida.Iam not to enthusiastic about development down there even though there have been some pressure falls in the vicinity during the last day or two overall thunderstorm activity still remains rather disorganized.As noted by the national hurricane center upper level winds are only marginal for tropical cyclone development.In my view things could become a tad interesting in the coming days as the trof currently in the vicinity trys to lift out and rideing trys to become establised a small window may exist for some development.

Adrian

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455. Orcasystems
2:13 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Updated Blog
All Systems ... Atlantic
Tropical Storm ... Laura
Present Satellite picture BOC/Caribbean Blob
Present Satellite picture Caribbean Sea
Present Satellite picture BOC/Caribbean/GOM
Present Satellite picture Atlantic Train
Present Satellite picture Cape Verde
CMC 00Z..
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
454. Chicklit
9:11 PM EST on October 02, 2008
By the way, we're in an active phase of the MJO and full moon October 15th, just sixteen days before my birthday; and my mother truly was born on the Fourth of July.
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453. Chicklit
9:01 PM EST on October 02, 2008
Link
Roatan.
http://www.roatan.net/images/central-america-map.gif
That's what I thought, too.

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452. Patrap
9:05 PM CDT on October 02, 2008
A slow tropics is a good tropics in October.

Gnight too. Sweet dreams
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451. conchygirl
10:02 PM EDT on October 02, 2008
Nite all.........tropics are quiet and gut feeling is that we are finished for the season -yes, I too lived through Wilma but don't see anything leading us to anything close to Wilma. Of course, changes quickly occur.
Member Since: June 11, 2008 Posts: 24 Comments: 5910
450. Patrap
9:00 PM CDT on October 02, 2008
That's usually a scenario that happens once every few years 23 for sure.
Those can really do the nasty and fast with frontal Tropical Formations, as the paths are generally N to Ne historically.
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449. KEHCharleston
10:03 PM EDT on October 02, 2008
Quoting presslord:my greatest fear is......What if I like it?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I for one am relieved that you do not have the dress in your closet and your daughter is taking you shopping.

Ok, in the Caribbean we have, low shear, moist air, warm water ...and...and....vorticity!!!!
Note the green (negative) around the Yucatan



What else do we need?


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448. Patrap
8:58 PM CDT on October 02, 2008
GOES-12 WV GOM, LARGE Link
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447. hurricane23
9:57 PM EDT on October 02, 2008
Quoting Patrap:
The Caribbean has a system left in the basin this season...seems.

Its early October.
Systems can still sting fast.


Thats right pat it only takes a weak frontal boundary, some light wind shear and a cluster or two of thunderstorms to strike up our next named system.
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445. Patrap
8:55 PM CDT on October 02, 2008
The Caribbean has a system left in the basin this season...seems.

Its early October.
Systems can still sting fast.
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444. WxLogic
1:56 AM GMT on October 03, 2008
Quoting Patrap:
GOES-12 False Color WV Atlantic/African Coast Image, LARGE Link


Almost though we got transported to Mars... lol... but not bad.
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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