Impressive Bill churning huge waves; New England air pollution episode underway

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:38 PM GMT on August 18, 2009

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Hurricane Bill has popped out an impressive eye, and continues to gather strength over the middle Atlantic. Visible and infrared satellite imagery show a well-organized, symmetric hurricane, with plenty of low-level spiral banding and upper-level outflow channels to the north and south. The spectacular appearance of the storm is evidence of the light wind shear environment that Bill finds itself in.

Wind shear is low, 5 - 10 knots, and is forecast to remain low to moderate, 5-15 knots, for the next five days. Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) will rise steadily from 27.5°C today to 29°C on Friday. Total ocean heat content also rises today into Wednesday, and it is expected that Bill will take advantage of these favorable conditions to intensify into a major hurricane. The Hurricane Hunters make their first penetration into Bill this afternoon. The NOAA Hurricane Hunters will be continuously flying Bill for the next three days. They are flying research missions that will feed real-time radar data into an experimental version of the HWRF model to see if this data can improve the model forecasts.


Figure 1. Wave forecast for Hurricane Bill from NOAA's Wavewatch III model. Beginning Saturday (right panel) large waves from Bill are expected to affect most of the U.S. East Coast. By Sunday, the model predicts waves of 10 - 15 feet may impact the offshore waters of New England.

Water vapor satellite loops show that a trough of low pressure is diving down towards Bill, and this trough will be able to turn Bill more to the northwest over the next two days, and Bill will miss the Lesser Antilles Islands. The main impact of Bill on these islands will be high waves. Yesterday, Bill passed just north of Buoy 41041, which recorded significant wave heights of 28.8 feet. Maximum wave height is typically a factor of 1.9 greater than the significant wave height, so Bill was likely generating waves up to 55 feet high. High waves from Bill are propagating across the Atlantic towards the U.S. East Coast, and will arrive there on Saturday, according to NOAA's Wavewatch III model (Figure 1). The highest waves spawned by Bill will affect the New England coast, where waves of 10 - 15 feet in offshore waters can be expected. The waves will cause significant erosion of beaches, and possible damage to shoreline structures.

A much larger trough of low pressure is expected to develop along the U.S. East Coast late this week, turning Bill to the north. Exactly where this turn occurs is still not clear, and both Bermuda and Cape Cod, Massachusetts will be in Bill's 5-day forecast cone of uncertainty. At present, it appears that the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland or Nova Scotia are at greatest risk from a strike by Bill, but New England and Bermuda cannot relax just yet.

Elsewhere in the tropics
The remains of Tropical Storm Ana are bringing heavy rain to Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas today, and this activity will spread over South Florida tonight. The remains are disorganized, and are not likely to re-develop. No models are calling for any new tropical cyclones to develop in the Atlantic over the next seven days.


Figure 2. Image from NASA's Terra satellite of air pollution haze over the Northeast U.S. on Monday, August 17, 2009.

First major air pollution episode of the summer for the Northeast U.S.
New England is currently experiencing a far more deadly weather event than a direct hit by Hurricane Bill would likely bring--a large dome of high pressure. The reason? The high pressure system camped over the Northeast U.S. has brought hot temperatures, stagnant air, and the summer's first major air pollution episode.

The event started on Sunday, when a high pressure system with light winds moved over the eastern U.S., limited mixing and leading to stagnation and a buildup of pollutants. Mostly sunny skies and high temperatures also enhanced formation of ground-level ozone gas, a dangerous pollutant. Furthermore, southerly winds brought high humidity into the Northeast, which is conducive to particle pollution formation in the atmosphere. Particle pollution is the most deadly form of air pollution in the U.S. The poor air quality led to issuance of air quality advisories and action days on Monday in more than 30 cities, including New York City, NY; Newark, NJ; Providence, RI; and Portland, ME.

Today's air pollution forecast
Today, similar conditions are expected across much of the region, and Air Quality Index (AQI) levels are forecasted to remain in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Code Orange) range for many areas in the Northeast. For a complete list of action/advisory days and their locations, visit the EPA AIRNow website.

Health Tip: Cut back on strenuous outdoor exercise when air quality is expected to be poor.

How You Can Help: Choose a cleaner commute - share a ride to work or use public transportation. Bicycle or walk when possible. Combine errands and reduce trips.

Mortality from air pollution
As I discussed in a previous blog post, air pollution is a far more deadly weather hazard in the U.S. than hurricanes. Sure, hurricanes have killed an average of 150 people per year in the U.S., and the "premature deaths" caused by air pollution are only partly attributable to breathing bad air, while drowning in a hurricane's storm surge is entirely due to the hurricane. Nevertheless, a great many children die of pollution-induced asthma attacks who would not have died otherwise, and the mortality due to air pollution in the general population is in the thousands or ten of thousands each year. Outdoor air pollution in the U.S. due to particulate pollution alone was estimated by the EPA in 1997 to cause at least 20,000 premature deaths each year. A 2005 study by EPA scientists (Particulate Matter Health Risk Assessment for Selected Urban Areas) estimated that over 4,700 premature deaths occur each year in just nine cities (Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Boston, Phoenix, Seattle, and San Jose)--even if those cities all met the current federal standards for particulate matter pollution. Extrapolating these data to the entire nation puts the annual death toll in the tens of thousands--but the EPA has not calculated that total. Some studies have placed the annual pollution death toll in the U.S. at 50,000 to 100,000 (Dockery, D.W., and C.A Pope III. Acute Respiratory Effects of Particulate Air Pollution. Annual Review Public Health, 1994, vol. 15,107-32.) The death toll is much higher in other parts of the world, where air pollution standards are not as stringent. Globally, about 800,000 people per year die prematurely due to outdoor air pollution, according to a 2005 study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. This represents about 1.2 percent of total annual global deaths.

In the debate over the costs of switching over the cleaner energy sources, the huge costs and deaths attributable to air pollution are often ignored. Sure, it will be costly to move away from fossil fuels, but let's not forget that the price per gallon we pay at the pump does not include the billions in medical costs we pay for the effects of air pollution.

I'll have an update Wednesday morning.

Jeff Masters

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2647. BDAwx
Bda is taking bill seriously as we remember Fabian in 2003
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What are the steering currents with the ULL? Will it hit the Yucatan or just graze it and head into the southern GOM? Texas, you might have the rainmaker you've been asking for on your way! Let's hope not too much wind decides to join it.
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bwat:"I was thinking that very same thing, I hope not though being from ne nc!"

I saw the track but i was refering more to the structure. Isabel is better shaped, but her image shows her in a later progress, like 24-36hrs.
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Quoting Chicklit:
Computer models as of 8 p.m. seem to have shifted slightly left to me.

I'm a tad worried about that myself Chicklit...I'm on the Jersey Shore...
If Bill comes just a little more left, he's so large that he could bring damaging winds and a hefty surge onto on our beaches, not much different than '44 or '38. It's really critical just where he turns north. The trouble is that he will hit on a weekend, and most people won't be expecting it due to all the forecasters already deciding and reporting he will go out to sea. These are computers, subject to errors...we've all seen them. What if Bill decides to defy the computer models? I will not be convinced of anything until Bill is past my latitude. Pray for us, blog friends, that's how much of a close call it could be, at least that's my I fear anyhow.
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2618. Bill's in charge of his environment now.
The storm may peak out there and then be a lamb by the time it gets toward the CONUS. But that scenario is doubtful.
Thinking this one could attain a CAT 5 and then hopefully weaken in cooler waters.
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2642. centex
Bill is flat on W side.
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Has anybody heard of the term trof buster?Does it mean that the storm is so strong that it is not influenced by the trof?
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2639. snotly
Quoting LouisianaWoman:
They just keep shifting.
Link


3 types M,H,S

M = Monster?
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2638. Patrap
P-3 NOAA in K Eyewall,near Peak,28 Aug 2005
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Link Bill is on his forecast track turn on tropical forecast points and lattitude
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Louisiana Woman: Closer to the Outer Banks imo
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Quoting drj10526:


i don't know much and i have had a couple beers, but i know i don't understand that


LMAO!!! So true!
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2634. Patrap
28 August 2005 Katrina at Peak

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2633. bwat
Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:
PcolaDan
This reminds me of isabel


I was thinking that very same thing, I hope not though being from ne nc!
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WITH THE OFFICIAL TRACK IN THE MIDDLE OF GUIDANCE ENVELOPE.

That is called CYA.
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Cliper, it often comes up on the maps.
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Quoting winter123:


(seriously why are so many posts hidden? its really annoying)

this is how, theres no moisture being dragged up by the trough:



you have to check your WU filter,you want it to say "show all",hope that helps:)
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They just keep shifting.
Link
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From CNN:


MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Hurricane Bill churned in the Atlantic Ocean toward the west-northwest as a major Category 3 hurricane Tuesday evening.
Hurricane Bill is expected to continue toward the northwest Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Hurricane Bill is expected to continue toward the northwest Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Around 8:30 p.m., reports from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plane indicated Bill had strengthened, with maximum sustained winds near 125 mph. The National Hurricane Center said further strengthening is possible.

When a hurricane's sustained winds reach 111 mph, it reaches Category 3 status. When sustained winds reach 131 mph, it becomes a Category 4 storm.

The center said Bill is a large storm, with hurricane force winds extending outward up to 45 miles (75 kilometers). Tropical force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 kilometers).

The hurricane center expects Bill to turn to the northwest Wednesday.

"On this track, the core of Bill will be passing well to the northeast of the northern Leeward Islands late Wednesday and early Thursday," forecasters said. The northern Leeward Islands are to the east of Puerto Rico.

Weather models showed the storm also missing Bermuda as it heads nearer to the upper U.S. East Coast, CNN meteorologists said Tuesday.
Don't Miss

* Watch issued for Dutch Antilles as Ana nears

Although Bermuda may escape a direct hit from Bill, it might experience strong waves and fierce winds, meteorologists said. Track Hurricane Bill's path across the Atlantic »

No computer models Tuesday showed Bill posing a danger to the United States.

Bill, the first hurricane of the 2009 Atlantic season, was heading west-northwest at near 16 mph as of Tuesday afternoon. It was centered about 635 miles east of the Leeward Islands.

Hurricane-force winds extended up to 45 miles from the center, and tropical storm-force winds of at least extended up to 175 miles out.
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The remnants of Tropical Depression Ana continued to drop heavy rain across Hispaniola and Cuba on Tuesday, CNN meteorologists said. Forecasters expect Ana to wash South Florida in heavy rain as it passes through the Keys this week.

There's a slight chance that Ana could regenerate into a tropical cyclone after it moves into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico this week, the weather service said.
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The NE US citizens are going to be unprepared when tomorrow they wake up and see a Cat 4 or 5 heading right toward them
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Quoting BahaHurican:
From sitting more or less directly under it, I don't think so. So far it's not been much of a big deal.

Maybe tomorrow, though, since they still have the yellow mark on it.


I can agree. Circulation is definitely evident, not much moisture around it yet. Still has a little bit to go before it strikes the bathwater.
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Quoting winter123:


i remember my first time with the xtrap.. lol. Then theres that climatology model... whats that called?
clipper, or Clip
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Actually the concensus of the Models moved to the right some....

Current.....0000 UTC


1800 UTC run...


1200 UTC run..
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Quoting aasmith26:
I wonder if the NHC is trying to put off investigating the remnants of Ana because they called it off toooo soon. Hmm. :-\. LOL


Well...everyone's a bit preoccupied.
Dontcha think? Okay, I'm going to say it:
Mother of God. Bill is eating his oats and getting stronger. I don't ever recall seeing anything like that. Time to start kneeling down and praying it threads the needle.
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...err hate the blackout.
Nice looking storm from last image.



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2621. Patrap
000
WTNT43 KNHC 190241
TCDAT3
HURRICANE BILL DISCUSSION NUMBER 15
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL032009
1100 PM AST TUE AUG 18 2009

REPORTS FROM A NOAA HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT CONDUCTING A RESEARCH
MISSION IN BILL AND INFRARED SATELLITE IMAGERY INDICATE THAT BILL
HAS UNDERGONE A PERIOD OF RAPID INTENSIFICATION AND IS NOW A MAJOR
HURRICANE. HIGHEST FLIGHT-LEVEL WINDS SO FAR HAVE BEEN 126 KT AT
700 MB...WITH THE LATEST MINIMUM PRESSURE OF 952 MB AT 0202 UTC.
THE HIGHEST SFMR-OBSERVED SURFACE WIND SPEED WAS 100 KT. THE LATEST
DVORAK T-NUMBERS ARE 6.0 FROM BOTH TAFB AND SAB...WHILE UW CIMSS
OBJECTIVE ADVANCED DVORAK VALUES HAVE BEEN AS HIGH AS 7.0.
BLENDING THE AIRCRAFT FLIGHT-LEVEL...SFMR...AND DROPSONDE WINDS
WITH THE VARIOUS SATELLITE-DERIVED INTENSITY ESTIMATES...THE
INITIAL INTENSITY IS SET AT 110 KT. FAVORABLE ENVIRONMENTAL
CONDITIONS COULD ALLOW FOR FURTHER STRENGTHENING DURING THE NEXT
24 TO 36 HOURS. HOWEVER...EYEWALL REPLACEMENT CYCLES...WHICH ARE
VERY DIFFICULT TO ANTICIPATE...MAY PRODUCE SOME FLUCTUATIONS IN
INTENSITY. REGARDLESS...BILL IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN A LARGE AND
POWERFUL HURRICANE FOR SEVERAL DAYS AS IT MARCHES INTO THE CENTRAL
NORTH ATLANTIC. TOWARD THE END OF THE PERIOD...SEA SURFACE
TEMPERATURES WILL BE DECREASING ALONG THE FORECAST TRACK AND
SOUTHERLY TO SOUTHWESTERLY SHEAR SHOULD BEGIN TAKING A TOLL. AS A
RESULT...THE OFFICIAL INTENSITY FORECAST CALLS FOR WEAKENING AROUND
96 HOURS...WITH A MORE DECIDED RATE OF WEAKENING NEAR THE END OF
THE PERIOD.


BASED ON AIRCRAFT AND SATELLITE FIXES...THE INITIAL MOTION IS
ESTIMATED TO BE 295/13...REPRESENTING A SLIGHTLY MORE NORTHERLY
COMPONENT OF MOTION. THE TRACK FORECAST PHILOSOPHY HAS NOT
CHANGED. BILL IS FORECAST TO BE STEERED NORTHWESTWARD INTO A
SIGNIFICANT BREAK IN THE SUBTROPICAL RIDGE OVER THE NEXT FEW
DAYS...WHERE IT WILL COME UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF AN UNUSUALLY DEEP
LONGWAVE TROUGH DIGGING INTO THE EASTERN UNITED STATES. THIS
STEERING FEATURE SHOULD CAUSE BILL TO TURN NORTHWARD AND THEN
NORTH-NORTHEASTWARD...WITH SOME INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED. THE
TRACK GUIDANCE IS IN REASONABLY GOOD AGREEMENT ON THIS
SCENARIO...WITH THE OFFICIAL TRACK IN THE MIDDLE OF GUIDANCE
ENVELOPE.


FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 19/0300Z 17.2N 53.4W 110 KT
12HR VT 19/1200Z 18.4N 55.4W 120 KT
24HR VT 20/0000Z 20.0N 58.0W 125 KT
36HR VT 20/1200Z 21.8N 60.5W 125 KT
48HR VT 21/0000Z 23.8N 62.9W 120 KT
72HR VT 22/0000Z 29.0N 67.0W 115 KT
96HR VT 23/0000Z 35.0N 68.0W 100 KT
120HR VT 24/0000Z 42.0N 64.0W 85 KT

$$
FORECASTER KIMBERLAIN/PASCH


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Quoting aasmith26:
I wonder if the NHC is trying to put off investigating the remnants of Ana because they called it off toooo soon. Hmm. :-\. LOL
From sitting more or less directly under it, I don't think so. So far it's not been much of a big deal.

Maybe tomorrow, though, since they still have the yellow mark on it.
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What time does recon take off again I know that they just landed from the last mission
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2618. snotly
Quoting Chicklit:
Models shifted left is what he said.
That stinkin' thing is not going to hit Bermuda, at least; we watch by, hoping it threads the needle.
Bill is holding up really well in the SAL.



Bill is in charge of it's own environment now. (sans steering winds that is)
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Quoting Chicklit:
What's the trough situation?


Just wondering the same thing. How does someone gauge whether or not a trough is on course for what NHC has anticipated in their forecast?
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2616. centex
Quoting Chicklit:
Models shifted left is what he said.
That stinkin' thing is not going to hit Bermuda, at least; we watch by, hoping it threads the needle.
Bill is holding up really well in the SAL.

yes and they are expecting 4 by morning.
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full disk image from goes14
Link
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2614. Patrap
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


isnt it a 4:15???


Yeah,..we have some more frames..I had the GOES-11 sounder up by mistake..









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I wonder if the NHC is trying to put off investigating the remnants of Ana because they called it off toooo soon. Hmm. :-\. LOL
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PcolaDan
This reminds me of isabel
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What's the trough situation?
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2610. Patrap

Fall 2009 GOES Eclipse Schedules
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Models shifted left is what he said.
That stinkin' thing is not going to hit Bermuda, at least; we watch by, hoping it threads the needle.
Bill is holding up really well in the SAL.

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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


nocaps landfalls in massachusetts


can someone post links or gif loops to models?
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Quoting JUSTCOASTING:


Dont worry Jax it is because at one time they all asked the same question.


That was nice gesture of you to give him an encouraging word.
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Quoting Patrap:
Were in GOES-Sat Blackout,..no Imagery till Later in the am.

Mean Green Noted on the Rainbow



isnt it a 4:15???
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Hi everyone, just passing by really quick



It's starting to get creepy as Bill moves the models progressively to the west having upto 4 of the 6 models a landfall somewhere between Cape Cod and Nova Scotia.

Let's hope it starts recurving before it gets to the 60° W mark. Good night everyone!
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2604. Patrap
GOES-12 Eclipse Dates
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Quoting Chicklit:
Computer models as of 8 p.m. seem to have shifted slightly left to me.


nogaps landfalls in massachusetts
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Computer models as of 8 p.m. seem to have shifted slightly left to me.
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Quoting weathercrazy40:
GFS Ensemble Computer Model i just say out show them bending back but some one who knows more take a look see what they thing before they were over or east of berumda now just about all west


i don't know much and i have had a couple beers, but i know i don't understand that
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2599. centex
Seems like a critical time. If goes east of track or west of forecast track will make a big difference. We know not exactly forecast track especially 3 to 5 days out.
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Quoting JUSTCOASTING:


Dont worry Jax it is because at one time they all asked the same question.
It not the ? But If It Does not change it Current path than i need to get to Publix?
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Quoting Patrap:
Were in GOES-Sat Blackout,..no Imagery till Later in the am



NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooo!!!!!!!!1111111

ive actually always wondered why it does that. to process data? reset?
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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