Average hurricane season foreseen by CSU, NOAA, and TSR

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:45 PM GMT on June 02, 2009

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A near-average Atlantic hurricane season is on tap for 2009, according to the seasonal hurricane forecast issued June 2 by Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU). The CSU team is calling for 11 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) 88% of average. Between 1950 - 2000, the average season had 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. But since 1995, the beginning of an active hurricane period in the Atlantic, we've averaged 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 intense hurricanes per year. The new forecast is a step down from their April forecast, which called for 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. The new forecast calls for a near-average chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S., both along the East Coast (28% chance, 31% chance is average) and the Gulf Coast (28% chance, 30% chance is average). The Caribbean is also forecast to have an average risk of a major hurricane.

The forecasters cited several reasons for an average season:

1) Sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the tropical Atlantic are quite cool. In fact, these SST anomalies are at their coolest level since July 1994. Cooler-than-normal waters provide less heat energy for developing hurricanes. In addition, an anomalously cool tropical Atlantic is typically associated with higher sea level pressure values and stronger-than-normal trade winds, indicating a more stable atmosphere with increased levels of vertical wind shear detrimental for hurricanes. Substantial cooling began in November 2008 (Figure 1), primarily due to a stronger than average Bermuda-Azores High that drove strong trade winds. These strong winds increased the mixing of cool waters to the surface from below, and caused increased evaporational cooling.

2) Hurricane activity in the Atlantic is lowest during El Niño years and highest during La Niña or neutral years. This occurs because El Niño conditions bring higher wind shear over the tropical Atlantic. The CSU team expects the current neutral conditions may transition to El Niño conditions (70% chance) by this year's hurricane season. I discussed the possibility of a El Niño conditions developing this year in a blog posted Friday.


Figure 1. Change in Sea Surface Temperature anomaly between November 2008 and 2009. Most of the Atlantic has cooled significantly, relative to normal, over the past 7 months. Image credit: NOAA/ESRL.

Analogue years
The CSU team picked five previous years when atmospheric and oceanic conditions were similar to what we are seeing this year: neutral to slightly warm ENSO conditions, slightly below-average tropical Atlantic SSTs, and above-average far North Atlantic SSTs during April-May. Those five years were 2002, which featured Hurricane Lili that hit Louisiana as a Category 1 storm; 2001, featuring Category 4 storms Michelle, which hit Cuba, and Iris, which hit Belize; 1965, which had Category 3 Betsy that hit New Orleans; 1960, which had two Category 5 hurricanes, Ethyl and Donna; and 1959, which had Category 3 Hurricane Gracie, which hit South Carolina. The mean activity for these five years was 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes, almost the same as the 2009 CSU forecast.

How accurate are the June forecasts?
The June forecasts by the CSU team have historically offered a skill of 20 - 30% higher than a "no-skill" forecast using climatology (Figure 2). This is a decent amount of skill for a seasonal forecast, and these June forecasts can be useful to businesses such as the insurance industry and oil and gas industry that need to make bets on how active the coming hurricane season will be. This year's June forecast uses the same formula as last year's June forecast, which did quite well predicting the 2008 hurricane season (prediction: 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, 4 intense hurricanes; observed: 16 named storms, 8 hurricanes, 5 intense hurricanes). An Excel spreadsheet of their forecast skill (expressed as a mathematical correlation coefficient) show values from 0.44 to 0.58 for their June forecasts, which is respectable.


Figure 2. Accuracy of long-range forecasts of Atlantic hurricane season activity performed at Colorado State University (CSU) by Dr. Bill Gray's team (colored squares) and Tropical Storm Risk, Inc. (TSR, colored lines). The skill is measured by the Mean Square Skill Score (MSSS), which looks at the error and squares it, then compares the percent improvement the forecast has over a climatological forecast of 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. TS=Tropical Storms, H=Hurricanes, IH=Intense Hurricanes, ACE=Accumulated Cyclone Energy, NTC=Net Tropical Cyclone Activity. Image credit: TSR.

NOAA's 2009 hurricane season forecast
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), issued its 2009 Atlantic hurricane season forecast on May 21. NOAA anticipates that an average season it most likely, giving a 50% chance of a near-normal season, 25% chance of an above-normal season, and a 25% chance of a below-normal season. They give a 70% chance that there will be 9 - 14 named storms, 4 - 7 hurricanes, 1 - 3 major hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) in the 65% - 130% of normal range. The forecasters cited the following main factors that will influence the coming season:

1) We are in an active period of hurricane activity that began in 1995, thanks to a natural decades-long cycle in hurricane activity called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO).

2) There will either be an El Niño event or neutral conditions in the Equatorial Eastern Pacific. An El Niño event should act to reduce Atlantic hurricane activity. However, our skill at predicting an Niño in late May/early June is poor, so there is high uncertainty about how active the coming hurricane season will be.

3) Cooler-than-average SSTs are currently present in the eastern tropical Atlantic. These cool SSTs are forecast to persist through into August-September-October (ASO). ASO SSTs in the eastern tropical Atlantic have not been below average since 1997. Cooler SSTs in that region are typically associated with a reduction in Atlantic hurricane activity.

Thus, they expect that even though we are in an active hurricane period, the presence of an El Niño or cool SSTs in the eastern Atlantic could easily suppress activity, making a near-average season the most likely possibility. They note that two promising computer models, the NOAA CFS model and the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Global Climate Model System 3, both forecast the possibility of a below-average hurricane season.

2009 Atlantic hurricane season forecast from Tropical Storm Risk, Inc.
The British private forecasting firm Tropical Storm Risk, Inc. (TSR) has joined the ranks of NOAA and Colorado State University in calling for near-average activity. The latest TSR forecast issued June 4 calls for 10.9 named storms, 5.2 hurricanes, 2.2 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) 72% of average. The storm numbers are close to the 50-year average of 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes, and are sharp reduction from their April forecast of 15 named storms, 7.8 hurricanes, and 3.6 intense hurricanes. TSR predicts a 50% chance that this season will be in the bottom 1/3 of years historically, and a 40% chance that U.S. landfalling activity will be in the lowest 1/3 of years historically. TSR gives a 32% chance of a near-normal season, and a 17% chance of a below normal season. TSR rates their skill level as 26% above chance at forecasting the number of named storms, 15% skill for hurricanes, and 19% skill for intense hurricanes.

TSR projects that 3.2 named storms will hit the U.S., with 1.3 of these being hurricanes. The averages from the 1950-2008 climatology are 3.2 named storms and 1.5 hurricanes. Their skill in making these April forecasts for U.S. landfalls is 7 - 18% above chance. In the Lesser Antilles Islands of the Caribbean, TSR projects 0.9 named storms, 0.4 of these being hurricanes. Climatology is 1.1 named storms and 0.5 hurricanes.

TSR cites two main factors for their reduced forecast: a large and unexpected cooling of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic, and warmer SSTs in the Equatorial Eastern Pacific (which might lead to an El Niño event that will bring high wind shear to the Atlantic). TSR expects faster than than normal trade winds from July - September over the Main Development Region (MDR) for hurricanes over the Atlantic (the region between 10° - 20° N from Central America to Africa, including all of the Caribbean). Trade winds are forecast to be 0.83 meters per second (about 1.7 mph) faster than average in this region, which would create less spin for developing storms, and allow the oceans to cool down, due to increased mixing of cold water from the depths and enhanced evaporational cooling. TSR forecasts that SSTs will cool an additional 0.3°C compared to average over the MDR during hurricane season.

Air France crash
The Air France Flight 447 A330 aircraft that disappeared over the mid-Atlantic Ocean yesterday definitely crossed through a thunderstorm complex near the Equator, according to a detailed meteorological analysis by Tim Vasquez. He concludes that "the A330 would have been flying through significant turbulence and thunderstorm activity for about 75 miles (125 km), lasting about 12 minutes of flight time" but that "complexes identical to this one have probably been crossed hundreds of times over the years by other flights without serious incident". See also the excellent CIMSS satellite blog for more images and analysis of the weather during the flight.

Invest 92
NHC is tracking a storm near the Azores Islands (Invest 92L) that is probably the remnants of the core of an extratropical cyclone that closed off some warm air at the center. The system has developed some heavy thunderstorm activity near its center, making this a hybrid storm. However, with ocean temperatures near 62°F (16°C), this storm has little chance of becoming a named subtropical storm.

Jeff Masters

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Good evening everyone...Since it is now hurricane season, I have posted a pretty nice contest into my blog!! It features the typical named storms/hurricanes/major hurricanes that we are all familiar with ...and it also has a "predict the landfall location" part. It should be rather fun...and the overall points from the two will be added together to determine a winner at the end of the season. Hope you all enjoy...and feel free to leave me a comment with your predictions or send me some mail. Good Luck!!! =D

Link
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1211. Ossqss
Night all and I will leave you with this thought for the day.

What impact do the thousands of satellites emitting small and large amounts of microwaves or other radiation type items, have on our current clmate change item over time? How does that play into the overall scenario at hand ?

Just something I have wondered about. Let alone the cell towers etc. Excite the molecules in any atmosphere and what happens? Something to think about I guess. Be well - e
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1210. Seastep
Quoting Ossqss:
1202. Seastep 11:34 PM EDT on June 03, 2009


Wouldn't it be nice if we actually knew what gravity was?

We know it, but cannot tame it yet !


We know it's there, but we don't have a clue what it is.

I am very disappointed with the delays with the new smasher. Could give some insight.
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Quoting TampaMishy:
Hi CaneWarning


Hey Mishy!
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1207. Ossqss
1202. Seastep 11:34 PM EDT on June 03, 2009


Wouldn't it be nice if we actually knew what gravity was?

We know it, but cannot tame it yet !
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Quoting Ossqss:


I would bet they find the recorder with the assets they have on site. They found the debris with our spy sat system....The recorder has at atleast 28 more days of pinging min.


I sure hope they find it.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1205. docrod
gnite and take care
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Look in to the eye of the storm
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when I saw the feature's it was on the WV loop
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1202. Seastep
Quoting Skyepony:
CIMSS satellite blog has a gravity wave from those extremely cold storm tops puncturing the tropopause as probible cause of the plane crash..


Wouldn't it be nice if we actually knew what gravity was?

Seriously, it drives me crazy!
Quoting Ossqss:


They had 136 people on that thing in the first Patrap vid segment? If so, what the hell were they doing at an airshow showing off with passengers, that does not make sense >?


I think that is the root of the whole conspiracy thing.

No conspiracy. Just stupidity.
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Good night all,
New tragedies and old memories make for a heavy heart tonight - off to find something frivolous to read before calling it a night
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Hi CaneWarning
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1199. Ossqss
Quoting CaneWarning:
I think the plane just broke apart due to extreme turbulence. The debris is scattered over many miles and if it went straight down intact it wouldn't be. More than likely nobody suffered. It was over before they knew what hit them. The fact that the pilots didn't say a word is proof of that.


I would bet they find the recorder with the assets they have on site. They found the debris with our spy sat system....The recorder has at atleast 28 more days of pinging min.
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Quoting stillwaiting:
after all these storms were not 50,000ft supercells..

No, they only broke the tropopause (-80C cloudtops), which in the tropics is around 55,000 feet.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5881
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Quoting CaneWarning:
1193. That second video starts just a few miles to the north of where I lived. Interesting seeing it again.

Rick is on CNN now...
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1193. That second video starts just a few miles to the north of where I lived. Interesting seeing it again.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
I think the plane just broke apart due to extreme turbulence. The debris is scattered over many miles and if it went straight down intact it wouldn't be. More than likely nobody suffered. It was over before they knew what hit them. The fact that the pilots didn't say a word is proof of that.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Hurricane Andrew coverage THAT day...

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1192. Patrap
IF memory serves me correct,that 88 Air Show crash had a FLight Crew and a few Air France execs on Board..as the Plane was a NEw Model Air France Air Bus
Either way,,the Video was one that shows even on the Best day,in VFR conditions,things can go BAd very fast.
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Quoting TampaFLUSA:

I was looking at Google earth and some of the neighborhoods were not to this day rebuilt...you can still see overgrown streets with no houses...anyone living now in Dade would know better though..


Yeah, alot wasn't rebuilt for many years after the storm. My parents moved to Tampa away from the area because of Andrew.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1189. Ossqss
Quoting Ossqss:


Yep, no passengers in it. If you listen carefully, you hear them acknowledge the mistake they, the pilots, make with the RPMS on the engine at the last minute.


They had 136 people on that thing in the first Patrap vid segment? If so, what the hell were they doing at an airshow showing off with passengers, that does not make sense >?
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Quoting Skyepony:
CIMSS satellite blog has a gravity wave from those extremely cold storm tops puncturing the tropopause as probible cause of the plane crash..



I was watching a wave in that area the night it happened,I remember earlier in the day TS was pulling my leg because I thought it might develop and I did notice some strange outflow looking features moving north away from the area about 11pm est. about 4 or 5 hrs before it happened...its possible that a gravity wave might have just tore the plane apart instantly,IMO
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Quoting MrstormX:
1162. Hugo was a cat 5 on September 15th, the NHC did upgrade it for a short time per

Link
Indeed, it was. However, here in Charleston, it was high end Cat 4.

One of the stories, I will always remember, was a woman (in Puerto Rico, I believe) who was interviewed by a newscaster, after Hugo swept the island. She was standing beside her demolished home. The newsman (a real sensitive guy) asked ' how do you feel now that you have lost everything?'

The woman turned to him and said.. 'this? this is just stuff. I have my family and that is what matters'

When we evacuated for Hugo, I kept her words in mind. She will never know, what a difference she has made in my life. I think of her often. Putting it in perspective.

Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico were really slammed. Anyone in Charleston who did not heed that wake up call, was very foolish.

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Quoting CaneWarning:


I remember the same thing. I was 11 at the time and I don't remember my parents or anyone else being worried about the storm until the last minute. Even as it was heading towards us everyone thought it wouldn't be so bad. I remember being in the center bathroom and the rest of the house was just gone. I remember my dad opening the door of the bathroom later and saying, "The house is gone." I can still hear the roar of the winds. That's a sound you'll never forget. I remember my family getting lost around the Cutler Ridge area and couldn't figure out how to get home a few days after the storm because everything was so damaged. I remember driving around in our car that had no windows because they were all blown out. Anyway, sorry to ramble...I could go on and on. It's something you'll never forget.

I was looking at Google earth and some of the neighborhoods were not to this day rebuilt...you can still see overgrown streets with no houses...anyone living now in Dade would know better though..
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1185. Patrap


Skyepony,..bringing the CIMSS take.

Thanx for that page..

I couldnt find it no where the last hour.

One Bad Cell..wrong place wrong time.

Bad Karma.






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Quoting TaminFLA:
It's interesting all the comments on Hurricane Andrew. Having lived in Homestead at the time, I always thought that Andrew was a 4 but that there were so many tornados within this storm that it was easy to assume it was a cat five.

The damange was so extensive, but in certain parts of Homestead it just looked like a bomb went off.

It's funny how your mind can remember stuff so vivid after the fact. I worked at Homestead Air Force base and on late Friday afternoon I walked over to the Customs Air Branch to check on the weather. We were planning to go boating...trust me when I say NO ONE was worried about any hurricane. It was not until the next morning on Saturday that the alarm was sounded.

To this day, I don't know how thousands and thousands of people did not die in this storm.

I had thought that the equipment had broken at 180 MPH on the base? I went onto the base a couple of weeks after the storm, to "try" and salvage anything of value in our offices....( confidential papers) but I am sure most people know this was an attempt that was just not possible.

I personally will never forget the majority of my friends who had to run from room to room, as there roofs were being torn off with tiny children. I thank God I stayed with my parents in Kendall!

One block from my parents home, Wayside Baptist Church's entire side of the church was gone....a tornado. I was stunned....until I drove into Homestead days later.


I remember the same thing. I was 11 at the time and I don't remember my parents or anyone else being worried about the storm until the last minute. Even as it was heading towards us everyone thought it wouldn't be so bad. I remember being in the center bathroom and the rest of the house was just gone. I remember my dad opening the door of the bathroom later and saying, "The house is gone." I can still hear the roar of the winds. That's a sound you'll never forget. I remember my family getting lost around the Cutler Ridge area and couldn't figure out how to get home a few days after the storm because everything was so damaged. I remember driving around in our car that had no windows because they were all blown out. Anyway, sorry to ramble...I could go on and on. It's something you'll never forget.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1183. Levi32
Quoting stillwaiting:
wouldn't the plane be flying to high to be effected by a downdraft,I believe they were at 35,000ft,the pilot had alot of experience as well I believe 30ys...


As I understand it there was an unusually large amount of mid-layer dry air present at the time, which would serve to increase upper tropospheric downdrafts.
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1181. Skyepony (Mod)
CIMSS satellite blog has a gravity wave from those extremely cold storm tops puncturing the tropopause as probible cause of the plane crash..
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1180. Ossqss
Quoting Patrap:


Disputed..?

Thats occurred in 88 at a Air Show and was Shown round the World on the Nightly news Sport.


Yep, no passengers in it. If you listen carefully, you hear them acknowledge the mistake they, the pilots, make with the RPMS on the engine at the last minute.
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1177. Seastep
Quoting Patrap:
Bad Mojo can Occur at any time..if one isnt careful or familiar with the EVent .happening and taking the correct action to survive it.

Date: June 26, 1988
Time: 14:45
Location: Habsheim, France
Operator: Air France
Flight number: 296Q
Route: Basel - Basel
AC type: Airbus A320-111
Aboard: 136 (passengers: 130, crew:6)
Fatalities: 3 (passengers: 3, crew:0)

Summary: The plane was scheduled to perform a series of fly-bys at an air show. The plane was to descend to 100 ft. altitude with landing gear and flaps extended. The automatic go-around protection was inhibited for the maneuver. During the maneuver, the plane descended thru 100 ft. to an altitude of 30 feet and hit trees at the end of the runway. The aircraft was totally destroyed by the successive impacts and violent fire which followed. The pilot allowed the aircraft to descend through 100 ft. at slow speed and maximum angle of attack and was late in applying go-around power. Unfamiliarity of the crew with the landing field and lack of planning for the flyby.



Only 3 fatalities.

That is truly a miracle.
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1176. Patrap
Quoting Vortex95:
Pat that vid u showed is heavily disputed its incredible how impassioned youtubers get.


Disputed..?

That occurred in 88 at a Air Show and was Shown round the World on the Nightly news Sport.
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1162. Hugo was a cat 5 on September 15th, the NHC did upgrade it for a short time per

Link
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1174. docrod
blob to invest criteria

Just a general question to this blog - what does the NHC and US Navy use to delineate a blob from an invest? I suspect the criteria are different based on the timing of announcements from the respective sites. Just curious.

- regards - RB
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1172. Patrap
Air France Crash May Point to Limits in Coping With Weather

By John Hughes

June 3 (Bloomberg) -- The crew of the Air France jet that crashed this week over a remote stretch of the Atlantic Ocean may have had little warning of developing storms, according to aviation and weather analysts.

While weather causes fewer crashes than in the past because of advances in radar, the plane was traveling in an area that lacked coverage from ground-based radar, which controllers otherwise can use to help spot storms, said William Voss, head of the Flight Safety Foundation. With less than one flight an hour in the region, there also would have been few advance reports on conditions from other pilots, he said.

The possibility that storms may have contributed to the crash is an early focus of inquiry as authorities search for the black box voice and data recorders that would provide more detailed information of what happened on board. The prospect of a weather-related crash highlights the limits of technology improvements, with pilots still having to rely on outside guidance to help steer clear of dangerous squalls.

No captain in his right mind would drill a modern airliner through a thunderstorm, said Jack Casey, a former airline pilot and consultant at Safety Operating Systems LLC in Washington.
Its just not done.

The Airbus SAS A330-200, with 228 on board, appears to have flown into or near a large cluster of thunderstorms northeast of Fernando de Noronha, located off Brazil's coast, according to AccuWeather.com.

Updrafts may have reached 100 mph, and the storms, stretching for over 400 miles (644 kilometers), towered as high as 50,000 feet, according to the weather service.

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Starting next weekend not this one;South Florida will be in the 90s for the remainder of the month.So the coastal waters as well as the Carib and GOM should become a melting pot in a while.
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after all these storms were not 50,000ft supercells..
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wouldn't the plane be flying to high to be effected by a downdraft,I believe they were at 35,000ft,the pilot had alot of experience as well I believe 30ys...
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there's usually not enough cold air aloft for hail/snow to form,charge the air and produce a static electrical charge(lighting) in the atlantic along the ITCZ,something caused the plane to explode,..but not likely a bomb...IMO
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Quoting Patrap:
I read that soon after the Release today..and the timeline suggest a cascade of events ,which usually is the case..

Whatever occurred,when the breakup occurred,no one suffered ,at that altitude.
A Cabin break up and sudden decompression would render the most fit unconcious immediately.


A cascade of events is usually what is found in situations likes this......generally in hindsight it all could have been prevented. Actually, I should say "some" of the mistakes could have been prevented as once a series of event happens there appears to be no way to fix a series of mistakes.

I am glad to hear, whatever happened was quick :(
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THINGS SHOULD GET INTERESTING IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS.... STAY TUNED.
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Quoting KEHCharleston:
Yep... size does matter!
Hugo was not a Cat 5 (except on Wiki and according to some old timers) -- but it was HUGE. As far away as Charlotte, NC (170 miles from landfall) experienced Cat1 hurricane and gusts over 100 mp
Some of the most profound difficulty from the storm, was the human impact on very poor, very rural areas of inland SC

Some of the Mountain Tops in NC were wiped clean of lumber from 100mph+ winds during Hugo...
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there's usually not enough cold air aloft for hail/snow to form,charge the air and produce a static electrical charge(lighting) in the atlantic along the ITCZ,something caused the plane to explode,..but not likely a bomb...IMO
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A person on CNN(?)yesterday said there was always a possibility a drug smuggler caused a wake that brought the plane down..I think the area is known for drug smugglers...
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Quoting Vortex95:
Its incredible how powerfull yet small andrew was. Being in north east dade we got hurricane force winds but they were not as strong as Wilmas!!! to this day I still find that Amazing. In andrew we had a lot of branches down and tile damage but from wilma at least 6 large trees in my area were topped. I believe Andrew gave us 75-80 mph winds Wilma at peak was around 85-90 and gusting well over 100 mph since it was moving so fast. Although it was a tad bit stronger its gusts were what made it so damaging although andrew was a fast mover as well.
Yep... size does matter!
Hugo was not a Cat 5 (except on Wiki and according to some old timers) -- but it was HUGE. As far away as Charlotte, NC (170 miles from landfall) experienced Cat1 hurricane and gusts over 100 mp
Some of the most profound difficulty from the storm, was the human impact on very poor, very rural areas of inland SC


ADDED: Gives me chills thinking about Flying into Hugo - as Jeff Masters did.
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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.