Weather and mortality

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:21 PM GMT on February 27, 2009

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Hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes get the attention-grabbing headlines when a natural disaster kills people in the U.S. Yet heat waves, cold winter weather, severe thunderstorm winds, and flooding all killed more people in the U.S. between 1970 and 2004, according to a December 2008 article published by Kevin Borden and Susan Cutter of the University of South Carolina. Tornadoes and lightning were tied for fifth place, and Hurricanes and earthquakes tied for eighth place. However, had this study extended one more year into 2005, the roughly 1800 hurricane deaths from Hurricane Katrina would have vaulted hurricane deaths into third place, behind heat wave deaths and cold weather deaths. The study also showed that people living in rural areas were most likely to die from a natural disaster than those living in cities.


Figure 1. U.S. deaths due to natural hazards between 1970 and 2004 showed that weather associated with extremes of hot and cold weather, along with severe thunderstorm winds (the "Severe Weather" category), killed the most people. Image credit: Spatial patterns of natural hazards mortality in the United States, International Journal of Health Geographics. Authors: Kevin Borden and Susan Cutter of the University of South Carolina.

The authors used Spatial Hazard Event and Loss Database for the United States (SHELDUS)(available at http://www.sheldus.org). This database provides hazard loss information (economic losses and casualties) from 1960-2005 for eighteen different hazard types, and is primarily based on data from the NOAA/National Climatic Data Center publication, "Storm Data". The numbers have high uncertainty, and the authors conclude, "There is considerable debate about which natural hazard is the most "deadly". According to our results, the answer is heat. But this finding could be changed depending on the data source, or how hazards within a data source are grouped."


Figure 2. U.S. deaths due to natural hazards for the 10- and 30-year period ending in 2007, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Image credit: NOAA.

To illustrate, a 2008 study by Thacker et al. called, "Overview of deaths associated with natural events, United States, 1979-2004", concluded that cold deaths were twice as common as heat deaths in the U.S. However, they noted that the 1995 Chicago heat wave, which killed between 600 and 700 people by some estimates, was not properly represented in the data base used in their study. This data base attributed only 50 deaths in the entire state of Illinois to heat in 1995. The authors conclude that their data base "under-reports the actual number of deaths due to severe heat".

Another example: NOAA plots up annual natural hazard deaths from the same source ("Storm Data") as the first study I montioned. Their statistics for the ten-year period ending in 2007 show a much different picture (Figure 2). Heat deaths are a much more dominant source of mortality than cold and winter storm deaths, by a factor 3.5. The take-home message from all this is that heat- and cold-related extreme weather are probably the deadliest weather hazards in the U.S., but we really don't know the proportion of people killed by each. One can easily cherry pick the study of one's choice to show a desired result.

How global warming might affect heat and cold-related deaths
If the globe continues to warm up this century, as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), heat-related deaths will increase and cold-related deaths will decrease (duh!). Unfortunately, that's about the most intelligent thing one can say about the matter. The 2007 IPCC report (section 8.4.1.3, Heat- and cold-related mortality), does not attempt to estimate the numbers, saying, "Additional research is needed to understand how the balance of heat-related and cold-related mortality could change under different socio-economic scenarios and climate projections."

This high uncertainty in future heat- and cold-related deaths does not stop advocates on either side of the global warming issue from cherry picking results from selected studies to support a particular point of view. For example, opinion columnist George Will stated in a recent Newsweek column: "In Europe, cold kills more than seven times as many as heat does. Worldwide, moderate warming will, on balance, save more lives than it will cost--by a 9-to-1 ratio in China and India. So, if substantially cutting carbon dioxide reverses warming, that will mean a large net loss of life globally." Will bases his arguments on Danish statistician Bjørn Lomborg's controversial 2007 book, "Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming." However, as pointed out by Danish biologist Kåre Fog, who has assembled a large web site dedicated to pointing out the errors in Lomborg's books, the huge number of excess deaths attributed to cold by Will and Lomborg are in large part because the death rate naturally rises in the winter: "Old and seriously sick people have less vitality in the dark season. It is too bold to say that the excess deaths during the dark part of the year are `deaths due to excess cold?. There is no evidence that a warmer climate will alter the seasonal variation. These people would soon die in any case, even if winters became warmer. Indeed, cold and warm climates, like Finland and Greece, have approximately the same seasonal variation in mortality." The IPCC underscores this problem, stating: "projections of cold-related deaths, and the potential for decreasing their numbers due to warmer winters, can be overestimated unless they take into account the effects of influenza and season".

Heat wave deaths are subject to a degree of uncertainty as well. It is somewhat of a subjective call if an elderly person who dies during a heat wave died primarily as a result of the heat, or of a pre-existing heart or respiratory condition. Complicating the diagnosis is the fact that air pollution is at its worst during heat waves, and can also be blamed as the cause of death in some cases. Different studies will use different criteria for classify deaths due to heat, pollution, or pre-existing medical conditions during a heat wave, leading to widely varying estimates of mortality. For example, the European heat wave of 2003 is blamed for 35,000, 52,000, or 70,000 deaths, depending upon the source. You're more likely to hear the higher 70,000 figure quoted by advocates of doing something about global warming, and the 35,000 figure quoted by those opposed.

The three 2008 studies for the U.S. show the ratio of cold deaths to heat deaths ranges from 2:1 to 1:3, which is very different from the 7:1 and 9:1 figures quoted by Will and Lomborg for Europe, India, and China. I don't trust any of these numbers, since heat and cold mortality statistics are highly uncertain and easy to cherry pick to show a desired result. It is rather unproductive to argue about how many people die due to heat and cold in the current climate or in a future climate. Excess heat deaths due to climate change should not get as much attention as the potential for death due to reduction in crop yields due to increased heat and drought, regional collapses of the oceanic food chain from the steady acidification of the oceans, and the wars these conditions might trigger.

For more information
For those interested, Kåre Fog also presents a list of the errors in Al Gore's book and movie, An Inconvenient Truth, and has a Comparison of error counts between Al Gore and Bjørn Lomborg. Lomborg has assembled a Short reply to Skeptical Questions to respond to some of Fog's criticisms, but does not answer Fog's criticism on cold deaths vs. heat deaths. Suffice to say, one should be wary of trusting climate change information from either source, or from opinion columnists, or from politicians. Blogs can also be a questionable source of climate change information, though I think wunderground Climate Change blogger Dr. Ricky Rood is one of the most knowledgeable and unbiased climate change experts in the world. Though imperfect, the best source of climate change information is the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The level of scientific collaboration and peer review that went into that document is one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of science, and the IPCC was fully deserving of the Nobel Prize awarded to it last year. Blogs and books like Lomborg's and Gore's have not gone through peer-review by scientific experts on climate change, and will have far more errors, biases, and distortions of the truth than the IPCC reports.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Patrap:


NASA Looks at Hurricane Cloud Tops for Windy Clues Link



Hot towers are one window into the mystery of how hurricanes grow stronger. A single hot tower does not tell you much about a hurricane, but a rapid sequence of towers suggests that something unusual is going on deep inside the hurricane.

By combining measurements from many hurricanes, statistics show that if hot towers exist in the eyewall at least 33% of the time during a three-hour period, a hurricane's destructive surface winds have an 82% chance of intensifying. Otherwise, the chance of wind intensification drops to only 17%. The bottom line is that if several hot towers are present in a hurricane over a period of time, there's a higher probability of a storm intensifying.







Patrap, was it Wilma that intensified the fastest or was it Gilbert or Mitch? i recall 50 mb in a 12 hour period, but cannot remember which it was.
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571. JRRP
??

Link
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NASA Looks at Hurricane Cloud Tops for Windy Clues Link



Hot towers are one window into the mystery of how hurricanes grow stronger. A single hot tower does not tell you much about a hurricane, but a rapid sequence of towers suggests that something unusual is going on deep inside the hurricane.

By combining measurements from many hurricanes, statistics show that if hot towers exist in the eyewall at least 33% of the time during a three-hour period, a hurricane's destructive surface winds have an 82% chance of intensifying. Otherwise, the chance of wind intensification drops to only 17%. The bottom line is that if several hot towers are present in a hurricane over a period of time, there's a higher probability of a storm intensifying.







Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833
Horrible day Economic and weather wise.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24574
Quoting Skyepony:
atmo~ the protest wasn't at the white house it was at the Capitol Hill Power Plant. Built near a 100 years ago to power capital hill. It can run on gas or oil but people have fought had for it to run on coal, so it does. Even though that causes the most health problem due to air pollution of the 3. It wasn't AGW but anticlean coal.. which doesn't even exist.. Here's a pic.


Big turnout. 4 activists and 2 cops and one propeller?
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567. Skyepony (Mod)
atmo~ the protest wasn't at the white house it was at the Capitol Hill Power Plant. Built near a 100 years ago to power capital hill. It can run on gas or oil but people have fought had for it to run on coal, so it does. Even though that causes the most health problem due to air pollution of the 3. It wasn't so much AGW but anticlean coal.. which doesn't even exist.. Here's a pic.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 224 Comments: 39372
Quoting SevereHurricane:
All I have to say is OUCH reguarding the stockmarket.


Unfortunately, we have not hit bottom. 5k and 500 is not out of the question.
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All I have to say is OUCH reguarding the stockmarket.
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
Dow finishes below 7,000 for first time since '97
More unstoppable selling on Wall Street takes Dow to lowest point since 1997


NEW YORK (AP) -- A relentless sell-off in the stock market Monday blew through barriers that would have been unthinkable just weeks ago, and investors warned there was no reason to believe buyers will return anytime soon.


AP - Peole walk to work in the snow as they pass the flag-draped New York Stock Exchange Monday, March ...
The Dow Jones industrial average plummeted below 7,000 at the opening bell and kept driving lower all day, finishing at 6,763 -- a loss of nearly 300 points. Each of the 30 stocks in the index lost value for the day.

And the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index, a much broader measure of the market's health, dipped below the psychologically important 700 level before closing just above it. It hadn't traded below 700 since October 1996.

Investors were worried anew about the stability of the financial system after insurer American International Group posted a staggering $62 billion loss for the fourth quarter, the biggest in U.S. corporate history -- and accepted an expanded bailout from the government.

But beyond daily headlines, Wall Street seems to have given up the search for a reason to believe that the worst is over and the time is ripe to buy again.

"As bad as things are, they can still get worse, and get a lot worse," said Bill Strazzullo, chief market strategist for Bell Curve Trading, who said he believes the Dow might fall to 5,000 and the S&P to 500.

The Dow's descent has been breathtaking. It took only 14 trading sessions for the average to fall from above 8,000 to below 7,000. For the year, the Dow has lost 23 percent of its value.

Its last close below 7,000 was May 1, 1997 -- a time when the market was barreling to one record high after another because of the boom in technology stocks, but often suffered big drops as investors worried about inflation and rising interest rates.

This time around, Wall Street analysts seem to believe that a stock market recovery will first require signs of health among financial companies, and on Monday those signs seemed further away than ever.

AIG, whose reach is so vast that the government warns letting it fail would cripple the very world financial system, will get another $30 billion in loans on top of the $150 billion already invested by the government.

HSBC PLC, Europe's largest bank by market value, said it needs to raise about $18 billion, reported a 70 percent drop in earnings for last year, and announced plans to scale back U.S. lending and cut 6,100 jobs.

The banking sector helped drive the market lower. Citigroup stock lost 20 percent of its value and fell to a paltry $1.20 per share. HSBC lost 19 percent. Bank of America lost 8 percent.

While the root of the problem for the financial firms is the bad bets they made on mortgages and mortgage-backed securities, now the recession is exacerbating their problems, forcing job cuts.

"The economy definitely has deteriorated since November," said Sean Simko, head of fixed income management at SEI Investments. "It's just the fact that we haven't seen signs of improving or stabilizing, per se, which is adding to the morass of the market."

Mixed economic readings provided little reason to expect a turnaround. Personal spending and incomes both rose for January, but construction spending fell 3.3 percent, more than twice what economists expected.

And coming later this week is much bigger, and more unnerving, data. The government on Friday will report the national unemployment rate and job losses for February. Those figures have been worse month after month.

So far, the economic readings and news coming out of financial companies are still so alarming that investors feel no alternative but to sell.

"I don't think we find a bottom in the market until we see some sort of increased level of optimism and confidence among consumers and investors," said Jim Baird, chief investment strategist at Plante Moran Financial Advisors.

Both the Dow and the S&P have lost more than half their value since the market peaked in October 2007. In that time, about $11 trillion in wealth has vanished, according to the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 index, which tracks nearly all stocks traded in America.

Last week, the Dow and the S&P 500 fell below the levels they had reached Nov. 20 and 21 -- to that point their lowest since Lehman Brothers imploded in September and set off the financial meltdown.

Investors had hoped those levels might mark a market bottom, but it hasn't happened.

Big-name investors are just as cautious. Billionaire Warren Buffett predicted in his annual letter to investors Saturday that "the economy will be in shambles throughout 2009 -- and, for that matter, probably well beyond." He cautioned that did not determine whether the market would rise or fall.

And even when the market finally reaches a bottom, it probably faces a long, long recovery.

"We do feel that things can improve, but it is going to be years before we get back to levels we saw in the markets a year ago," said David Chalupnik, head of equities at First American Funds.

Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
thats pretty amazing stuff,snowfall in the south in March
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562. Skyepony (Mod)
Gabrielle looks to be pulling her COC under her explosive convection. Lotta white on rainbow for such a young system, par to the new norm..
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 224 Comments: 39372
Protest on clean-coal and AGW in DC today. Cannot seem to find any pics for some reason.

http://www.greenmuze.com/community/activism/866-mass-disobedience-in-dc.html

Could be the late-season heavy snow...ahh, the irony. Want it cold? Plan a protest in favor youknowwhat hypothesis. Yes, I know the difference between weather and climate, but the average memory for a NY Times reader only goes back to their last visit to the store with food stamps.

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That was a nice snowfall I don't think we've had a snow day in march here ever. If I'm lucky they'll take tomorrow off as well.
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2377
Temps have been falling here since shortly after 4pm. Wonder if we'll dip as low as 55. . . .

Later, ya'll.
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Howdy Gang... 5" plus here in Upstate SC... Waiting for the refreeze tonight.. Will update later as we are very very busy here...
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Quoting atmoaggie:


Well, good news is we know what started it.

Huh???
[scratches head]

This started wildfires and ice melt & stuff???
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Quoting Ossqss:
Wildfires, vanishing ice, disintegrating 001k's, showstorms, cold weather in FLorida again!!!!! This is getting to be too much to take. Economic weather or natural the mortality rate is going up fast.

Is there any good news out there????????????


Well, good news is we know what started it.

From the NY times in 1999:
"In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits. "

From here: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0DE7DB153EF933A0575AC0A96F958260
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Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
Quoting BahaHurican:
It does get into the upper 50s at night on about as regular a basis in Cuba as it does here in the Bahamas. Of course, like here, it's regional; i.e. NW portions of Cuba near Havana are more likely to experience the colder weather than, say Guantanamo. Likewise SE Bahamas rarely gets below 60, even at night.


What is the coldest temperature recoreded in Havana,Cuba?
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
Quoting RitaEvac:
CRIME AND MURDER ESCALATING IN GALVESTON TX

Just like NOLA, crime and murder is on the increase after hurricane. Econonomy is gone on the island and Galveston especially Bolivar are falling through the cracks....


Actually the crime is way down from where it was Pre-Katrina.Since most of the Projects have been cleaned out and demolished.
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
Quoting Vortex95:
Anyone?

btw it really doesn't get colder than that in Cuba 66 degrees im sure it htis upper 50s once per season.
It does get into the upper 50s at night on about as regular a basis in Cuba as it does here in the Bahamas. Of course, like here, it's regional; i.e. NW portions of Cuba near Havana are more likely to experience the colder weather than, say Guantanamo. Likewise SE Bahamas rarely gets below 60, even at night.
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CRIME AND MURDER ESCALATING IN GALVESTON TX

Just like NOLA, crime and murder is on the increase after hurricane. Econonomy is gone on the island and Galveston especially Bolivar are falling through the cracks....
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Quoting Ossqss:
Wildfires, vanishing ice, disintegrating 001k's, showstorms, cold weather in FLorida again!!!!! This is getting to be too much to take. Economic weather or natural the mortality rate is going up fast.

Is there any good news out there????????????


Yea,
Its gonna warm up later thi week as that ridge at the surface slides to my east and gives me some moderateing temperatures and higher humidity but no rain because of that damm ridge in the upper levels thats gonna park right over us.
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 17 Comments: 1604
Quoting IKE:
Here's some good news with the economy...consumer spending rises in January

Maybe that will help the market.
Hey, Ike, that's all the money Bahamians and other Caribbean people spend in S. Florida and NY/NJ after Christmas. . . . lol
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Quoting hahaguy:


Ya the penguins are gonna get one of the playoff spots lol


Being a Pens fan -- I hope so --
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Quoting Hurricane4Lex:


Yup checking on how the world did (Link) we were bound to go past the 7000 barrier.... next up the hypothesized 6500 barrier break through (as I see alot of comments on the WSJ say we're gonna get past there)
its going to 5500 then buy buy buy but for now its dump dump dump
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Quoting Ossqss:


5 teams vying for 3 spots and within 3 pts with less than 20 games to go. They stand a good chance.


Ya the penguins are gonna get one of the playoff spots lol
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Quoting Vortex95:
The Florida Panthers could be going to the playoffs? :D

I Doubt the wildfires would affect metro areas most likely areas near the everglades or deep inland areas with forrest at least in S Fla. But there is always a chance.


5 teams vying for 3 spots and within 3 pts with less than 20 games to go. They stand a good chance.
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541. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Perth
Tropical Cyclone Technical Bulletin
TROPICAL CYCLONE GABRIELLE, CAT 1 (10U)
3:50 AM WDT March 3 2009
==============================

At 3:00 AM WDT, Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle, Category One [998 hPa] located at 13.5S 107.2E has 10 minute sustained winds of 35 knots with gusts of 50 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving east-northeast at 5 knots.

Storm Warning
==============
Storm Force Winds within 35 nautical miles of centre by 0000 UTC 03 March with very rough to high seas and moderate swell.

Gale Force Winds within 80 nautical miles of centre with rough to very rough seas and moderate swell.

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
12 HRS: 13.9S 107.8E - 40 knots (CAT 1)
24 HRS: 14.5S 107.1E - 40 knots (CAT 1)
48 HRS: 16.6S 102.9E - 35 knots (CAT 1)
72 HRS: 20.0S 097.4E - 30 knots (TROPICAL LOW)

Additional Information
=====================
Deep convection near the LLCC collapsed after 12Z and despite vertical shear of around 15 knots the system is struggling to maintain deep convection near the low level centre. Both the amount and the organisation of deep convection is poor. By 15Z the DT had dropped to around 2.0 as a result of collapse of significant convection near the LLCC but FT is limited by rules and CI is maintained at 3.0 despite evidence from the quikscat pass at around 11:14Z that indicates the system does not have encircling gales. The system may respond to the diurnally favourable period after 18Z.

The system is expected to track generally southwest over the next three days. TC oceanic heat content is not particularly high at present and will become a significantly limiting factor by Thursday.
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Complete Blog Refresh
Mirror Site



Current Home weather station data.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
Wildfires, vanishing ice, disintegrating 001k's, showstorms, cold weather in FLorida again!!!!! This is getting to be too much to take. Economic weather or natural the mortality rate is going up fast.

Is there any good news out there????????????
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The cold front in the Cuban Eastern end.
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Quoting TampaSpin:
Dow -300.75 -4.26% 6,762.18
NASDAQ -54.67 -3.97% 1,323.17
S&P -34.82 -4.74% 700.27


Yup checking on how the world did (Link) we were bound to go past the 7000 barrier.... next up the hypothesized 6500 barrier break through (as I see alot of comments on the WSJ say we're gonna get past there)
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Quoting Vortex95:
usually not on here until hurricane season but is the wildfire chances serioues for S Fla or is this common?


Our dry situation is likely to only get worse as southern florida continues under the influence of a la nina pattern.Its been a crazy winter down here for sure but unfortunately the parade of cold-fronts has brought very little in the way of precip which is quite common in this pattern.

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vortex , ya it could
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Quoting Vortex95:
usually not on here until hurricane season but is the wildfire chances serioues for S Fla or is this common?


As someone who live in south florida it's more common during the summer but since we haven't had rain in a long time and low humidity the fire threat a more severe now.
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Quoting Vortex95:
usually not on here until hurricane season but is the wildfire chances serioues for S Fla or is this common?


No it is very serious.....these freezes have caused dead brush and wildfires to feed!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
Dow -300.75 -4.26% 6,762.18
NASDAQ -54.67 -3.97% 1,323.17
S&P -34.82 -4.74% 700.27
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
It returns the winter for the Cubans. It is expected a cold day Tuesday with temperature from 19 to 20 C in the western North coast.

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*NC Snow Totals*

Beech Mountain = 15inches < Top 5 Highest

My house in Wilkes County = 4inches

Brushy Mountains,Wilkes County = 13inches

Many areas around here got a good 5-10inches. Areas of blowing snow knocked out power to the city of Greensboro. ALL major school systems were closed today in my viewing area.
524. Skyepony (Mod)
& it begins... Massive ice shelf collapsing off Antarctica

Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 224 Comments: 39372
NEW OUTLOOK POSTED:
South Florida StormWatch
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522. Skyepony (Mod)
Australian authorities closed schools and national parks, and sent out warning text messages to millions of cellphones amid fears that conditions in the south are ripe for wildfires.


Sounds like temps should be a little cooler than Black Saturday but the winds higher.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 224 Comments: 39372

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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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