Claudette hits Florida; Ana approaches Puerto RIco; Bill becomes our first hurricane

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:10 PM GMT on August 17, 2009

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Tropical Storm Claudette made landfall at about 1:15 am EDT near the eastern end of Santa Rosa Island, just southeast of Fort Walton Beach in Florida. Claudette's top winds were around 50 mph. A Personal Weather Station in Eastpoint, FL recorded sustained winds of 49 mph, gusting to 66 mph last night. So far, the rain from Claudette has had a tough time penetrating inland (Figure 2). Heavy rains of 3 - 4 inches have been confined to a narrow strip of coast, and Claudette is unlikely to cause any major flooding. Apalachicola received just over 4 inches of rain so far from Claudette. Radar animations out of the Florida Panhandle show that heavy rains continue along the coast in association with a main spiral band of Claudette, and these rains will gradually subside today.


Figure 1. Radar reflectivity image of Tropical Storm Claudette as it approached landfall just southeast of Fort Walton Beach shortly after midnight on 8/17/09.

The tropics featured a rare triple threat the past two days--simultaneous named storms beginning with the letters A, B, and C. The last time this occurred was in the slow-starting 1984 hurricane season, when Tropical Storms Arthur, Bertha, and Cesar were all active on September 1. This year's A, B, and C storms all got their names in just a 33 hour span. This is not a record, since in 1995, three tropical storms--Humberto, Iris, and Jerry--got their names in a 27-hour span (thanks to NOAA's Ryan Sharp for looking up this stat).


Figure 2. Total precipitation estimated by radar for Claudette, as of 3:28pm EDT 8/17/09.

Ana not dead yet
Tropical Depression Ana continues to cling to life, and is now approaching landfall in Puerto Rico. Radar animations from the San Juan, Puerto Rico radar show a surface circulation just southeast of the island, with some low-level spiral banding trying to develop to the south. Recent satellite images also show a rejuvenation of the heavy thunderstorm activity near Ana's center, as the storm regroups from being nearly torn apart yesterday. Ana has already dumped up to 4 inches of rain along the north coast of Puerto Rico, according to radar-estimates.

It is unlikely that Ana will survive past today, however, since the storm will move over both Puerto Rico and the rugged terrain of Hispaniola. The high mountains of these islands should act to disrupt the relatively small and fragile circulation of Ana. None of the computer models foresee that Ana will survive passage over Hispaniola. The Dominican Republic can expect 3 - 6 inches of rain from Ana, and Haiti can expect 1 - 3 inches.


Figure 3. Total precipitation estimated by radar from Ana for Puerto Rico.

Bill becomes the first Atlantic hurricane of 2009
Hurricane Bill continues to gather strength, and is now the first hurricane of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season. An eye has appeared on visible and infrared satellite imagery, and Bill is displaying an impressive symmetry, with plenty of low-level spiral banding.

Wind shear is low, 5 - 10 knots, and is forecast to be in the low range through Wednesday. With Sea Surface Temperatures only 27°C today, substantial intensification may not occur until Tuesday and Wednesday, when SSTs warm to 28 - 29°C and ocean heat content sharply increases. By Thursday, Bill is expected to leave the favorable upper-level wind environment it currently finds itself in, and moderate shear of 15 - 20 knots may limit further intensification.

Water vapor satellite imagery shows that there is a modest trough of low pressure in the upper atmosphere near 50°W longitude, that Bill is currently approaching. All of the computer models except the UKMET predict that this trough will be strong enough to turn Bill more to the northwest so that the hurricane misses the Lesser Antilles Islands. The UKMET predicts the trough will not affect Bill much, and that the hurricane will pass through or just north of the islands on Thursday. For now, the UKMET solution is being discounted, since the trough at 50W appears substantial enough on satellite imagery to be able to turn Bill more to the northwest.

A much larger trough of low pressure is expected to develop along the U.S. East Coast late this week, turning Bill even more to the northwest. Most of the models predict Bill will pass very close to Bermuda on Saturday as a result. The HWRF model predicts Bermuda will receive a direct hit at Category 4 strength. Until Bill interacts with the small trough at 50°W, it is too early to be confident of the potential threat to Bermuda. By Tuesday, we should have a much better idea of the threat. Likewise, I would like to see the UKMET model come around in line with the other models before dismissing the possible threat to the U.S. East Coast. It currently appears that Bill will miss the U.S. East Coast, but that a strike on the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland or Nova Scotia is possible.

I'll have an update Tuesday morning, or possibly this afternoon.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting RadarRich:



OK, enough jargon and coffe, slow it down a tad on the expertise being submitted with your posts. We all get the fact Bill will curve, just tone it down on a few decibals


Lol. Don't come down on him for it. He was trying to help those of us who didn't "get" it. Myself being particulary unscientific of mind. :) And I for one appreciate and applaud his patience.
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Here was my Tropical Update posted Yesterday.
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Quoting TampaSpin:
The weakness you have posted 3715 is not the same weakness that Bill will be going through. Bill goes up the Bermuda High Western side not between the Bermuda and the Azores High. Bill misses that opening and takes the next one that opens up in a couple of days.

Bill is rounding the western side of the eastern ridge that builds in after the western ridge has eroded. This is what the models forecast, this is what the NHC forecasts, this is what Tim Ballisty (The meteorologist who made that WC graphic) forecasts. I don't see where we are misunderstanding each other here. I think we both know what is happening but are explaining it in different terms. When that western ridge "erodes" it essentially will disappear on those model runs you are posting, either just in a *poof* sort of way, or it will appear to be carried off by a trough. Which in this case is that longwave trough that will be exiting the U.S. coast in 2-3 days. Thus, Bill rounds the western edge of the eastern high, as the weakness initiates the erosion of the western ridge, and the longwave trough completes it.
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Quoting HurricaneFCast:

Okay. Western Ridge erodes in part due to the weakness currently between the ridges, but also because of a longwave trough exiting the U.S. in about 2-3 days. That high will be gone, and then natural forces (which I explained about angular momentum and the conservation of such momentum causing a Hurricane to move polewards and accelerate (essentially, recurvature)) will help Bill move N and eventually NE. The only questions that remain are: How strong with the longwave trough be? How effective will the weakness be? (I.E. How quickly will the western ridge erode) How strong and how far west will the eastern ridge move once the weakness erodes the western ridge?

Bill should already be moving between the ridges prior to the western ridge becoming fully eroded, it is then that the longwave trough will appear and give Bill a "push" northwards and eventually northeastward. All of this is going to happen, there is no doubt. The only questions that remain are the magnitude of each of these forces. That, and only that, is what will determine when Bill will turn NW, N, and then NE..



OK, enough jargon and coffe, slow it down a tad on the expertise being submitted with your posts. We all get the fact Bill will curve, just tone it down on a few decibals
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Quoting HurricaneFCast:

That's because the western edge is already eroded.. Lol.. See the very simple and meteorologically accurate Weather Channel's graphic. It explains it ALL very simply. Bill moves between the two highs. The eastern ridge builds westward.


Thats a future map your looking at.....not the current one in place.....LOL
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OOOOOooooooh. That makes sense if the western high just erodes completely. I got it now. And I'll shut up. Lol. Thank you so much. :)
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The weakness you have posted 3715 is not the same weakness that Bill will be going through. Bill goes up the Bermuda High Western side not between the Bermuda and the Azores High. Bill misses that opening and takes the next one that opens up in a couple of days.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Don't mean to question your post either but, i do believe you have it wrong. The Western edge of the Bermuda high erodes allowing Bill to go up the Western edge as i Posted....


That's because the western edge is already eroded.. Lol.. See the very simple and meteorologically accurate Weather Channel's graphic. It explains it ALL very simply. Bill moves between the two highs. The eastern ridge builds westward.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Don't mean to question your post either but, i do believe you have it wrong. The Western edge of the Bermuda high erodes allowing Bill to go up the Western edge as i Posted....



THATS what I thought! And I get that the weakness is pulling him north right now. So he will be far enough north to round the western edge of the high being eroded by the trough coming off the coast later. My head hurts. ;)
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Quoting homelesswanderer:
So he will be rounding the eastern ridge. Maybe? Sigh but then that doesn't gel with the trough moving it out. Lol I give up.

Okay. Western Ridge erodes in part due to the weakness currently between the ridges, but also because of a longwave trough exiting the U.S. in about 2-3 days. That high will be gone, and then natural forces (which I explained about angular momentum and the conservation of such momentum causing a Hurricane to move polewards and accelerate (essentially, recurvature)) will help Bill move N and eventually NE. The only questions that remain are: How strong with the longwave trough be? How effective will the weakness be? (I.E. How quickly will the western ridge erode) How strong and how far west will the eastern ridge move once the weakness erodes the western ridge?

Bill should already be moving between the ridges prior to the western ridge becoming fully eroded, it is then that the longwave trough will appear and give Bill a "push" northwards and eventually northeastward. All of this is going to happen, there is no doubt. The only questions that remain are the magnitude of each of these forces. That, and only that, is what will determine when Bill will turn NW, N, and then NE..
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Quoting HurricaneFCast:

(NOT trying to attack your post or anything, just stating the forecast)
The High is forecast to erode towards the west, allowing Bill to move along the eastern side of the eroding ridge, in between the two highs over the northeastern Atlantic.
There's a weakness currently between the two highs that is forecast to erode the eastern side of the western ridge, allowing Bill to turn NW and then N.




Don't mean to question your post either but, i do believe you have it wrong. The Western edge of the Bermuda high erodes allowing Bill to go up the Western edge as i Posted....

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Quoting KerryInNOLA:
Chicken snd Egg. Does western edge of high erode because of Bill OR does Bill turn north because western edge of high erodes. I say they feed off each other.

The eastern edge of the western high is going to erode. Let's get that part of the forecast straight!!! (See the Layer Mean Wind Analyses graphics I posted that I painted on with ms paint, or the simple Weather Channel's image that I found later explaining it more simply) Lol! :)
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So he will be rounding the eastern ridge. Maybe? Sigh but then that doesn't gel with the trough moving it out. Lol I give up.
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Quoting homelesswanderer:


But if he's being pulled toward the ridge to the left how can he go north when the flow around the high is clockwise? O I'm back. lol

Because the weakness will erode it enough towards the west that He won't be directly affected by that ridge. In essence, he will be "cushioned" by the weakness, but still forced slightly westward by the eastern ridge that will be moving westward behind the weakness.
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OMG I'm so MAD! Lol I didn't have to waste time with MS paint and my crappy computer handwriting. Look what was on TWC's website, a very simple graphic explaining the same thing:

GRRRR! Oh well, at least the Layer Mean Wind Analyses show the strength of the High pressure areas and the weakness, unlike TWC's graphic. Anyways, there it is...^ ^ ^
>.<
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Quoting HurricaneFCast:

(NOT trying to attack your post or anything, just stating the forecast)
The High is forecast to erode towards the west, allowing Bill to move along the eastern side of the eroding ridge, in between the two highs over the northeastern Atlantic.
There's a weakness currently between the two highs that is forecast to erode the eastern side of the western ridge, allowing Bill to turn NW and then N.




But if he's being pulled toward the ridge to the left how can he go north when the flow around the high is clockwise? O I'm back. lol
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Quoting HurricaneFCast:

Bill isn't quite north enough to significantly "feel" the weakness yet, and the weakness isn't strong enough to completely steer Bill. Bill is currently being affected by a few steering mechanisms: He's not being allowed North by the ridge, and he's attempting to move poleward, thus the WNW motion. Until that High moves out of the way, he will not be able to move N or NE, thus he moves as far towards the N as he can, which is WNW at the moment.

(The reason he's trying to move poleward is complicated, involving precession of an object with angular momentum. A Hurricane precesses because of the rotation of the Earth. Since Hurricanes have angular momentum with respect to the Earth's axis, when they gain latitude they experience a conservation of that angular momentum and experience an acceleration to the east. Thus, a Hurricane moving WNW, experiencing a force from the west(A.K.A. an acceleration towards the east) will tend to move NW, N, and then NE until it is forced towards the Poles. When a Hurricane moves towards the Poles the distance to the Earth's axis decreases and it conserves angular momentum by increasing velocity.)


Hurricanman: This is the explanation for why Bill is moving the way he is moving.^^^^^

I also forgot to throw in there the reason he won't move directly towards the weakness is because of that additional high pressure area to the weakness' east. That should build west when the weakness erodes the western ridge towards the east, allowing Bill only a general NW and then N motion...
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Quoting serialteg:


ok! how did you earn that scholarship? :) grades?

Yep. :)
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Low pressure (Bill) cannnot go through HIGH pressure it must go around High pressure. Therefore as Bill moves West the western edge of the High erodes allowing Bill to move up the left side of the High.

(NOT trying to attack your post or anything, just stating the forecast)
The High is forecast to erode towards the west, allowing Bill to move along the eastern side of the eroding ridge, in between the two highs over the northeastern Atlantic.
There's a weakness currently between the two highs that is forecast to erode the eastern side of the western ridge, allowing Bill to turn NW and then N.


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Quoting serialteg:


lol

yeah... i guess that makes sense!

red is pretty much universal for intensity, force, stop, danger... and green for go... at least on the western world, we can say (dare we say) the States and it's territories.

So i guess they're shooting for a Red as Intense and greener for less and less.


Or NHC has some hurricane lovers in the bisness.... not that I am......


:D :D :D :D
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looks like the models clear the northern leewards from the windfield
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Quoting F5Tornado:
How dies wind shear look for Hurricane Bill?

I have to go quick, but here is a link to the site and an image:




Link


What do you think? I know that the high pressure systems interacting with Hurricanes at close distances can result in both weakining, is that true?

The shear is forecast to remain low or neutral for at least 24 hours.
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Quoting F5Tornado:


I was asking why the map constucters put red on the wind shear charts, shouldnt they put green on the map because its a good thing that the hurricane will die?'


lol

yeah... i guess that makes sense!

red is pretty much universal for intensity, force, stop, danger... and green for go... at least on the western world, we can say (dare we say) the States and it's territories.

So i guess they're shooting for a Red as Intense and greener for less and less.
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Quoting HurricaneFCast:

It's an excellent school. Yes I completely understand the costs are extraordinary! I was lucky enough to earn a scholarship from UM, so we only have to pay 2-3K out of pocket per year, where tuition is $35,500 per year. (~$1,400 per credit hour)


ok! how did you earn that scholarship? :) grades?
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Quoting serialteg:


i dont think i understand...

are you asking why shear has a negative impact on a hurricane?


I was asking why the map constucters put red on the wind shear charts, shouldnt they put green on the map because its a good thing that the hurricane will die?'
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Quoting HurricaneFCast:

You have to manually animate the Layer Mean Wind Analyses, click the + or - 3 HR button.


yeah, i kind of got it. thanks!
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12z dynamical models
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Quoting F5Tornado:
Hey guys, anybody know why in hurricane wind shear maps they put RED in WInd Shear Charts to signify high wind shear and thus hurricanes die faster?


i dont think i understand...

are you asking why shear has a negative impact on a hurricane?
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Quoting serialteg:


well, those things aren't static, they move... so ...

speaking of which, is there an animation link to the steering layers?

You have to manually animate the Layer Mean Wind Analyses, click the + or - 3 HR button.
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Quoting serialteg:


my first cane was Hugo in 1989, i was 7... rode it out in Puerto Rico. Ever since then I've been hooked on hurricanes, so to speak. top it off, im a cast-die surfer lol ...

how is that met school you're attending? the minuses about USA colleges in my opinion is how to pay for them ... :(

the credit-hour cost in mayaguez is ... $40 per credit lol

It's an excellent school. Yes I completely understand the costs are extraordinary! I was lucky enough to earn a scholarship from UM, so we only have to pay 2-3K out of pocket per year, where tuition is $35,500 per year. (~$1,400 per credit hour)
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Quoting sullivanweather:
Just updated with a brief discussion on Bill before I head off to work.

Tomorrow we see major hurricane Bill.


nice update! very nice


Quoting F5Tornado:
How dies wind shear look for Hurricane Bill?

I have to go quick, but here is a link to the site and an image:




Link


What do you think? I know that the high pressure systems interacting with Hurricanes at close distances can result in both weakining, is that true?


looks like shear is weakening for billy
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Quoting Hurricanman:
I understand the circles and arrows... I just don't understand why Bill would move NW away from the weakness, when the weakness is to the north. Instead, Bill is forecast to go straight for the center of the left ridge.

Is this strictly because of how quickly that ridge will be eroding? Because surely it won't be heading directly for that high off the eastern US coast that it is forecast to plow through.


Low pressure (Bill) cannnot go through HIGH pressure it must go around High pressure. Therefore as Bill moves West the western edge of the High erodes allowing Bill to move up the left side of the High.
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Quoting Hurricanman:
I understand the circles and arrows... I just don't understand why Bill would move NW away from the weakness, when the weakness is to the north. Instead, Bill is forecast to go straight for the center of the left ridge.

Is this strictly because of how quickly that ridge will be eroding? Because surely it won't be heading directly for that high off the eastern US coast that it is forecast to plow through.

Bill isn't quite north enough to significantly "feel" the weakness yet, and the weakness isn't strong enough to completely steer Bill. Bill is currently being affected by a few steering mechanisms: He's not being allowed North by the ridge, and he's attempting to move poleward, thus the WNW motion. Until that High moves out of the way, he will not be able to move N or NE, thus he moves as far towards the N as he can, which is WNW at the moment.

(The reason he's trying to move poleward is complicated, involving precession of an object with angular momentum. A Hurricane precesses because of the rotation of the Earth. Since Hurricanes have angular momentum with respect to the Earth's axis, when they gain latitude they experience a conservation of that angular momentum and experience an acceleration to the east. Thus, a Hurricane moving WNW, experiencing a force from the west(A.K.A. an acceleration towards the east) will tend to move NW, N, and then NE until it is forced towards the Poles. When a Hurricane moves towards the Poles the distance to the Earth's axis decreases and it conserves angular momentum by increasing velocity.)
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Hey guys, anybody know why in hurricane wind shear maps they put RED in WInd Shear Charts to signify high wind shear and thus hurricanes die faster?
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How dies wind shear look for Hurricane Bill?

I have to go quick, but here is a link to the site and an image:




Link


What do you think? I know that the high pressure systems interacting with Hurricanes at close distances can result in both weakining, is that true?
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3736. sfla82
Thought I would check in one last time tonight....Ana is gone....And Bill is still a fish!!!
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Just updated with a brief discussion on Bill before I head off to work.

Tomorrow we see major hurricane Bill.
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Quoting serialteg:


well, those things aren't static, they move... so


Well, yes, I gathered that much. It's just - it's hard to imagine them moving that much. But I will just wait and see.

And, the 6:15 GOES image is in, the eclipse is over, and... a move to the north! I'm glad to see it above 15N
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Quoting thewindman:
The GFS is still out to sea. What are the other models showing?


this is the link i have on that
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Quoting HurricaneFCast:

It's so funny that you mentioned Madden, because guess what game I have in my Xbox 360 that is turned on as we speak, sitting next to me? :)
Lol, thanks for the kind words.


go pack go!
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Quoting Hurricanman:
I understand the circles and arrows... I just don't understand why Bill would move NW away from the weakness, when the weakness is to the north. Instead, Bill is forecast to go straight for the center of the left ridge.

Is this strictly because of how quickly that ridge will be eroding? Because surely it won't be heading directly for that high off the eastern US coast that it is forecast to plow through.


well, those things aren't static, they move... so ...

speaking of which, is there an animation link to the steering layers?
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The GFS is still out to sea. What are the other models showing?
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Quoting HurricaneFCast:

Oh really? That's cool! Should be an interesting associate's! Yes, I am absolutely passionate, I've had a passion for weather since about the 6th grade, and had decided to study it by about 8th or 9th. :)


my first cane was Hugo in 1989, i was 7... rode it out in Puerto Rico. Ever since then I've been hooked on hurricanes, so to speak. top it off, im a cast-die surfer lol ...

how is that met school you're attending? the minuses about USA colleges in my opinion is how to pay for them ... :(

the credit-hour cost in mayaguez is ... $40 per credit lol
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3728. ackee
I cant wait for bill to start moveing NW guys guess can go bed feeling somewhat better thanks everyone
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I understand the circles and arrows... I just don't understand why Bill would move NW away from the weakness, when the weakness is to the north. Instead, Bill is forecast to go straight for the center of the left ridge.

Is this strictly because of how quickly that ridge will be eroding? Because surely it won't be heading directly for that high off the eastern US coast that it is forecast to plow through.
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Quoting RiverSteve:

It's so funny that you mentioned Madden, because guess what game I have in my Xbox 360 that is turned on as we speak, sitting next to me? :)
Lol, thanks for the kind words.
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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:
The latest EUMETSAT shows the eye has shifted north.


that's one badass animation. thanks

i live in one of those islands lol so puny... right to the left of the image...

we're definitely not in the clear.
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Quoting serialteg:


lol

hey hurricanefcaster... i ain't as touchy as other ppl around here, no need to worry (about what you said when you first quoted me).

im planning on taking my first met classes in january, as im applying for computer engineering college and there is an associate's degree in meteorology.

im passionate about this - and i think you are, too!

thanks for your info.

Oh really? That's cool! Should be an interesting associate's! Yes, I am absolutely passionate, I've had a passion for weather since about the 6th grade, and had decided to study it by about 8th or 9th. :)
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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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