Dust forecast for the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:58 PM GMT on June 20, 2009

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There will be less African dust than usual over the tropical Atlantic during this year's hurricane season, according to a new experimental dust forecast issued by Dr. Amato Evan of the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Evan used a statistical model that correlated levels of dust activity in past years with rainfall over the Sahel region of Africa and a natural regional wind pattern known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). He forecasts that dust levels over the Main Development Region (MDR, 8 - 20°N & 15 - 65°W) for Atlantic hurricanes during this year's hurricane season will be similar to last year's below-average levels, thanks in large part to plentiful rains over the Sahel region of Africa during the 2008 rainy season (Figure 1). However, the dust levels expected this year do not approach the record lows seen in 1994 and 2005. Dust forecasts made in May or June are skillful going out five months, with a skill 11 - 16% better than a "no-skill" forecast using climatology.


Figure 1. Rainfall over the Sahel region of Africa was generally 50 - 100 mm (2 - 4 inches) above average during the 2008 rainy season (about 20 - 80% above average). The heavy rains promoted vigorous vegetation growth in 2009, resulting in less bare ground capable of generating dust. Image credit: NOAA/Climate Prediction Center.

The Sahara and the Sahel: significant sources of dust
The summertime dust that affects Atlantic tropical storms originates over the southwestern Sahara (18° - 22° N) and the northwestern Sahel (15° - 18° N) (Figure 2). The dust that originates in the Southwest Sahara stays relatively constant from year to year. However, the dust from the northwestern Sahel varies significantly from year to year, and understanding this variation may be a key factor in improving our forecasts of seasonal hurricane activity in the Atlantic. The amount of dust that gets transported over the Atlantic depends on a mix of three main factors: the large scale and local scale weather patterns (windy weather transports more dust), how wet the current rainy season is (wet weather will wash out dust before it gets transported over the Atlantic), and how dry and drought-damaged the soil is. The level of drought experienced in the northwestern Sahel during the previous year's rainy season (June - October) is the key factor of the three in determining how much dust gets transported over the Atlantic during hurricane season, according to a January 2004 study published in Geophysical Research Letters published by C. Moulin and I. Chiapello. A dry rainy season the previous year will make an expanded area of loose soil which can create dust. It is also possible that the corresponding changes in vegetation can alter the regional weather patterns, causing more dust production.


Figure 2. Map of the mean summer dust optical thickness derived from satellite measurements between 1979 and 2000. Maximum dust amounts originate in the northern Sahel (15° to 18° N) and the Sahara (18° to 22° N). The Bodele depression in Chad is also an active dust source. Image credit: Evidence of the control of summer atmospheric transport of African dust over the Atlantic by Sahel sources from TOMS satellites (1979-2000) by C. Moulin and I. Chiapello, published in January 2004 in Geophysical Research Letters.

How dust suppresses hurricanes
Dust acts as a shield which keeps sunlight from reaching the surface. Thus, large amounts of dust can keep the sea surface temperatures up to 1°C cooler than average in the hurricane Main Development Region (MDR) off the coast of Africa, providing hurricanes with less energy to form and grow. Dust also affects the Saharan Air Layer (SAL), an layer of dry, dusty Saharan air that rides up over the low-level moist air over the tropical Atlantic. At the boundary between the SAL and low-level moist air where the trade winds blow is the trade wind inversion--a region of the atmosphere where the temperature increases with height. Since atmospheric temperature normally decreases with height, this "inversion" acts to but the brakes on any thunderstorms that try to punch through it. This happens because the air in a thunderstorm's updraft suddenly encounters a region where the updraft air is cooler and less buoyant than the surrounding air, and thus will not be able to keep moving upward. The dust in the SAL absorbs solar radiation, which heats the air in the trade wind inversion. This makes the inversion stronger, which inhibits the thunderstorms that power a hurricane. The dust may also act to interfere with the formation of cloud drops and rain drops that these thunderstorms need to grow, but little is known about such effects. It is possible that dust may act to help hurricanes by serving as "condensation nuclei"--centers around which raindrops can form and grow.

For additional reading
Dr. Evan published a study in Science magazine this March showing that 69% of the increase in Atlantic sea surface temperatures over the past 26 years could be attributed to decreases in the amount of dust in the atmosphere.

Jeff Masters

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Amazing 93 a cool down my local met says if I was still living in New England it would be a massive heat wave.
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Quoting hurricane2009:
the term eating crow is just as dumb, why is everyone so quick to point out when others are wrong



You can call me (July 10th) out any time! Especially if (July 10th) im wrong about July 10th.
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Quoting TxKeef:


Thanks it was the stormjunkie one I was looking for! I appreciate it!


No prob...the links got poopooed, somehow

http://www.stormjunkie.com/
http://adriansweather.com/
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541. IKE
Quoting sporteguy03:


Ike no need to crow you I think the hot weather has been bad enough lol.


Crow today.... @ 101.3.

Right now it's 95.4.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting atmoaggie:


3 places:
1. stormjunkie.com
2. adriansweather.com
3. My blog has a lot of them (just click my handle)


Thanks it was the stormjunkie one I was looking for! I appreciate it!
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Quoting IKE:


I'll agree with the NHC track down the middle of the cone...if I'm wrong....crow me. LOL


Ike no need to crow you I think the hot weather has been bad enough lol.
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Quoting TxKeef:
Could someone give me the link to that one page that has all the great links to different models and how they work and to all the different sites with the satellite animations, I think someone on here made the site if I remember correctly. I lost all my bookmarks and couldn't remember what it was called. Also a link to the current TCHP map would be greatly appreciated.


3 places:
1. stormjunkie.com
2. adriansweather.com
3. My blog has a lot of them (just click my handle)

And the AOML TCHP page: http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/cyclone/data/at.html
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Pressure really falling off here under heat trough--second lowest reading in June in past 6 years!

Link

almost like a tropical depression.




Pretty dramatic.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
284



TROPICAL DEPRESSION TWO-E ADVISORY NUMBER 1.....


Sounds like 2E spun up a little
faster than expected. The track comes a little too close to the coast for comfort - (we're at approx. 19N/105W) so
it should be interesting. Strange to see the Pacific so
active this early and almost nothing going on in the Atlantic. Que pasa??
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A tropical wave will be developed Tuesday to the south of La Española. This system will increase rain in the Western region and center of Cuba from Thursday and to Saturday.
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Could someone give me the link to that one page that has all the great links to different models and how they work and to all the different sites with the satellite animations, I think someone on here made the site if I remember correctly. I lost all my bookmarks and couldn't remember what it was called. Also a link to the current TCHP map would be greatly appreciated.
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what physical process might make the dewpoint go down once 90F in temperature is surpassed

Is it simply turbulence-induced vertical mixing...albeit just with air below our cap? Then with the wind-less nighttime readings, the dewpoint climbs without the mixing?
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Another station, this time official, at the NWS Slidell office, does also show a lower dewpoint as the day wears on, but does not fall below upper 60s.

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i remember in the early 80s we had a week long temps of 100 or more in the ft walton beach and destin area.
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Maybe I should know this, but, what physical process might make the dewpoint go down once 90F in temperature is surpassed...or is it just some instrument issue. We have seen a lot of seemingly bogus dewpoints and RHs lately...

This is in Covington, LA (8 miles inland along north shore of Lake Pontchartrain) with some light north winds early in the day, but then variable, really, for the hottest part of the day. Very light breeze for the while day. So it isn't really a drying wind from the north to blame for a falling dewpoint, is it? There doesn't appear to be a dominant seabreeze/land breeze interaction. What is making the dewpoint fall?



Side note: To beat the heat, yet successfully entertain the 4-year-old, I decided we could make peanut butter cookies. He said: "And we can make jelly cookies and eat them together!" Too many PB & Js! After some discussion about the varieties of cookies I usually make, he said, "We can just spread grape jelly on our peanut butter cookies!" Well, I have to say that after trying his suggestion...dang, this is good! You guys have try this.
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Quoting Weather456:
Amazing;



That is pretty amazing. I wonder if it will last? I wonder if the high ocean temps will correspond with light upper winds, and lots of thunderstorm activity to bring us an active Jul? Only time will tell.
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Here's the tides at Wassaw Sound, Savannah for the next few days:

M 22 Low 2:36 AM -0.3 6:19 AM Rise 5:50 AM 1
22 High 8:40 AM 7.7 8:34 PM Set 8:49 PM
22 Low 2:41 PM -1.0
22 High 9:09 PM 10.0

Tu 23 Low 3:30 AM -0.6 6:19 AM Rise 7:01 AM 0
23 High 9:36 AM 7.9 8:34 PM Set 9:44 PM
23 Low 3:37 PM -1.3
23 High 10:03 PM 10.0

W 24 Low 4:22 AM -0.8 6:19 AM Rise 8:15 AM 1
24 High 10:32 AM 8.1 8:34 PM Set 10:31 PM
24 Low 4:31 PM -1.1
24 High 10:58 PM 9.8



What I highlighted represents an 11.3 foot tidal change between high and low tide!

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Quoting hurricane2009:
I hate the term fish storm, sounds so stupid to me

Like a storm going out to sea and people yell its a fish storm blah blah blah, then we find out later the storm killed 20 in the Azores or on a ship out in the Atlantic, then those idiotic fish storm statements look very unclassy.

Dont call something beforehand, doing so takes everything that has been learned by people on this site and throws it out the window. I thought people knew better than that.



agree
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115080
We'll have some of the biggest tides seen in a while the next 2 days:


Tide levels are expected to reach between 9.2 ft and 9.4 ft MLLW
in at fort Pulaski with this evening/S high tide. The following
impacts can be expected across north coastal Georgia...

... Chatham County...
Tybee Island
- water approaches Highway 80.
- Parts of The Fort Pulaski recreational area floods including
several recreational trails.

... McIntosh County...
Sapelo Island
- water floods several roads on the southern portion of the island
including beach Road.

... Bryan County...
Rabbit Hill
- water may breach docks and bulkheads on warnell drive near Fort
McAllister.
- Water covers portions of Mill Hill Road.

... Liberty County...
Halfmoon Landing
- some backyards in the planting hammock neighborhood flood.
- Water approaches portions of Cattle Hammock Road near the
Bermuda Bluff subdivision.

Sunbury
- public boat ramps partially floods and may become unusable.


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Quoting IKE:


I'll agree with the NHC track down the middle of the cone...if I'm wrong....crow me. LOL



ok but 1st i got too find some 1st
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115080
520. IKE
Quoting Tazmanian:



nop


and you can this look at the map





fish storm i dont think so give it 72hr then will see of calls it right


I'll agree with the NHC track down the middle of the cone...if I'm wrong....crow me. LOL
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
284

WTPZ32 KNHC 212030

TCPEP2

BULLETIN

TROPICAL DEPRESSION TWO-E ADVISORY NUMBER 1

NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL EP022009

200 PM PDT SUN JUN 21 2009



...TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS OFF THE SOUTHERN COAST OF MEXICO...



INTERESTS ALONG THE SOUTHWESTERN COAST OF MEXICO SHOULD MONITOR THE

PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM.



FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...PLEASE MONITOR

PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.



SATELLITE IMAGERY AND SHIP REPORTS INDICATE THAT THE SECOND TROPICAL

DEPRESSION OF THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC SEASON HAS FORMED.



AT 200 PM PDT...2100 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL DEPRESSION TWO-E

WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 14.7 NORTH...LONGITUDE 101.7 WEST OR ABOUT

205 MILES...335 KM...SOUTH OF ZIHUATANEJO MEXICO.



THE DEPRESSION IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 7 MPH...11 KM/HR. A

TURN TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST AND THEN TOWARD THE NORTHWEST IS

EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...

THE CENTER OF THE CYCLONE WILL REMAIN OFFSHORE OF THE COAST OF

MEXICO.



MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 35 MPH...55 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER

GUSTS. SOME STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24

HOURS...AND THE SYSTEM COULD BECOME A TROPICAL STORM TONIGHT.



ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 1002 MB...29.59 INCHES.



LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL IS POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF SOUTHERN AND

SOUTHWESTERN MEXICO DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS.



...SUMMARY OF 200 PM PDT INFORMATION...

LOCATION...14.7N 101.7W

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...35 MPH

PRESENT MOVEMENT...WEST OR 275 DEGREES AT 7 MPH

MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1002 MB



THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AT

800 PM PDT.



$$

FORECASTER BERG/PASCH
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53809
Quoting hurricane2009:
That and the coastline is in the cone, fish storm isnt the right term for TD 2-E by any means



nop


and you can this look at the map





fish storm i dont think so give it 72hr then will see of calls it right
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115080
516. IKE
Quoting Orcasystems:


OMG... you were the first one this year to say that.....


I'll be 2nd too.....a fishie, unless the NHC is wrong on track.


TD1 in the Atlantic was a fish.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting IKE:
TD2E looks like a fish-storm.


OMG... you were the first one this year to say that.....
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512. IKE
TD2E looks like a fish-storm.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
000
WTPZ42 KNHC 212031
TCDEP2
TROPICAL DEPRESSION TWO-E DISCUSSION NUMBER 1
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL EP022009
200 PM PDT SUN JUN 21 2009

SPIRAL BANDING HAS INCREASED DURING THE DAY AROUND THE AREA OF LOW
PRESSURE SOUTHWEST OF ACAPULCO...AND THE LOW-LEVEL CENTER APPEARS
TO HAVE BECOME SUFFICIENTLY WELL-DEFINED TO DESIGNATE THE SYSTEM AS
A TROPICAL CYCLONE. DVORAK T-NUMBERS FROM TAFB AND SAB WERE 2.0 AND
2.5...RESPECTIVELY...AND THE CURRENT INTENSITY IS SET AT 30 KT.
THIS INTENSITY IS CORROBORATED BY A COUPLE OF RECENT SHIP REPORTS
IN THE AREA. SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES WILL REMAIN WARM ALONG THE
FORECAST TRACK OVER THE NEXT 3 TO 4 DAYS...BUT THE SHIPS MODEL
PROJECTS THAT EASTERLY WIND SHEAR WILL INCREASE TO AROUND 20 KT
WITHIN THE NEXT DAY OR SO. THE LATEST RUN OF THE HWRF MODEL IS MORE
AGGRESSIVE THAN THE GFDL IN STRENGTHENING THE CYCLONE. CURIOUSLY...
THIS IS THE REVERSE OF WHAT WAS INDICATED BY THE MODEL RUNS FROM 12
HOURS EARLIER. DUE TO THESE UNCERTAINTIES...THE OFFICIAL FORECAST
SHOWS ONLY GRADUAL INTENSIFICATION AND DOES NOT BRING THE CYCLONE
TO HURRICANE STATUS. WEAKENING SHOULD OCCUR BY DAYS 4 AND 5 ONCE
THE SYSTEM MOVES INTO A MORE STABLE ENVIRONMENT OVER COOLER WATERS.

NONE OF THE GLOBAL MODELS INITIALIZED THIS SYSTEM PARTICULARLY
WELL...AND THIS IS LIKELY AFFECTING THEIR RESPECTIVE FORECAST
TRACKS. THE UKMET AND ECMWF MOVE THE DEPRESSION NORTHWARD TOWARDS
THE MEXICAN COAST...BUT THE SYSTEM IS CURRENTLY MOVING WESTWARD.
THE GFDL SHOWS VERY LITTLE MOTION DURING THE NEXT 24 TO 48
HOURS...BUT THIS ALSO DOES NOT SEEM CONSISTENT WITH THE SYSTEM'S
CURRENT MOTION. THEREFORE...THE OFFICIAL FORECAST TRACK RELIES ON
EXTRAPOLATION AND CLIMATOLOGY FOR THE FIRST 24 HOURS OR SO...THEN
COMES MORE IN LINE WITH A CONSENSUS OF THE GFS...GFDL...HWRF...AND
UKMET. AFTER 72 HOURS...THE SUBTROPICAL RIDGE IS EXPECTED TO BUILD
WESTWARD OVER MEXICO AND STEER THE CYCLONE ON A MORE WESTWARD
COURSE AWAY FROM LAND.

DUE TO THE EXPECTED SLOW MOTION OF THE SYSTEM OVER THE NEXT DAY OR
SO...A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS NOT REQUIRED FOR THE SOUTHWESTERN
COAST OF MEXICO AT THIS TIME. HOWEVER...INTERESTS IN THE REGION
SHOULD CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THE CYCLONE DUE TO THE
HIGHER-THAN-AVERAGE UNCERTAINTY IN THE FORECAST TRACK.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 21/2100Z 14.7N 101.7W 30 KT
12HR VT 22/0600Z 14.8N 102.2W 40 KT
24HR VT 22/1800Z 15.2N 102.8W 50 KT
36HR VT 23/0600Z 15.8N 103.4W 55 KT
48HR VT 23/1800Z 16.9N 104.2W 60 KT
72HR VT 24/1800Z 19.5N 107.0W 60 KT
96HR VT 25/1800Z 21.0N 111.0W 45 KT
120HR VT 26/1800Z 21.0N 116.0W 30 KT
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115080
Hot day
Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051
Station CAPL1 - 8768094 - Calcasieu Pass, LA
Wind Direction (WDIR): S ( 190 deg true )
Wind Speed (WSPD): 11.1 kts
Wind Gust (GST): 12.0 kts
Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.91 in
Air Temperature (ATMP): 84.2 °F
Water Temperature (WTMP): 88.2 °F

Station SBPT2 - 8770570 - Sabine Pass North, TX

Air Temperature (ATMP): 85.8 °F
Water Temperature (WTMP): 86.5 °F

Station GPST2 - 8771510 - Galveston Pleasure Pier, TX

Wind Direction (WDIR): S ( 170 deg true )
Wind Speed (WSPD): 13.0 kts
Wind Gust (GST): 14.0 kts
Air Temperature (ATMP): 83.5 °F
Water Temperature (WTMP): 91.4 °F

Its hot in our little corner of the gulf.


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Quoting hurricane2009:
Lefty just made an amazing putt on 18


My lefty is playing with his eyes closed.. and scoring accordingly :(
He better wake up pretty soon of he will be lucky for a top ten.
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Quoting hunkerdown:

I would begin to question the readings...current WU bradenton has dewpoint at 47, here in Boynton, dewpoint is 77, Tampa is 77 and Orlando is 71. Obviously that is the determining factor in the heat index.


I think we need to put a work order in for the Bradenton readings.

95.9 F
Clear
Humidity: 17%
Dew Point: 44 F

No way its 17% outside. I just lost 5 pounds in sweat walking in from the car. Happy Fathers Day all !!!
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SST's The Bahamas
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Now
Through 5 PM...isolated showers will continue to develop and move north across portions of southeast Texas. A thunderstorm or two will also be possible. Most of this activity will be found north of Interstate 10. Rainfall amounts will exceed a tenth of an inch per hour in most locations...with amounts up to a half-inch possible.

Good afternoon. Am very confused??? Why, how is it raining here under the ridge of doom???
I guess the sky is crying because its so hot. Lol. Seriously tho we were not sposed to get any rain. So much for forecasting. Mother Nature decides. :)
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Very Hot Today
Current Conditions - F° As of 1:53 PM on Sunday 21 Jun 2009 (Local Time) from KBFM Reporting Station

Scattered Clouds

96°F
Feels Like: 109°F
Wind Chill: 96° Ceiling: Unlimited
Heat Index: 109° Visibility: 10mi
Dew Point: 76° Wind: 7mph
Humidity: 52% Direction: 140° (SE)
Pressure: 29.91in Gusts: 0mph


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Sea Surface Temperatures (link)
Link
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499. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
haha

time to move the PWS out of the sun warm rays
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95.2 °F
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 57%
Dew Point: 78 °F
Wind: 1.0 mph from the SSW

Wind Gust: 10.0 mph
Pressure: 29.80 in (Falling)
Heat Index: 111 °F
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 8 out of 16
Clouds: Few 4300 ft
Scattered Clouds 5500 ft
Mostly Cloudy 25000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 21 ft
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Quoting hurricane2009:


I have been saying that for months, when people on here hear El Nino they assume it will take hold of this season and make it less active.

Seems like it will set-up more as neutral with warm bias or weaker El Nino.
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Hi Jeff...and I thought my heat index was high!

Daytona Beach (Ponce Inlet), FL, Daytona Beach, Florida (PWS)
Updated: 0 sec ago
99.0 °F
Scattered Clouds
Humidity: 54%
Dew Point: 81 °F
Wind: 2.0 mphfrom the NNE
Wind Gust: 5.0 mph
Pressure: 29.78 in (Falling)
Heat Index: 123 °F
Visibility: 7.0 miles
UV: 9 out of 16
Clouds: Scattered Clouds 5000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 12 ft

Rapid Fire Updates:
Enable Disable

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Low 90s beach water in NW Gulf, high pressure moving over this way this coming week, means lighter winds and hotter temps should push the NW Gulf well into the low 90s by end of next week.
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About

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