Global ocean temperatures at record highs for 3rd consecutive month

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:04 PM GMT on September 17, 2009

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For the third consecutive month, global Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) were the warmest on record, according to statistics released yesterday by the National Climatic Data Center. August SSTs were 0.57°C (1.03°F) above the 20th century average, breaking the previous August record set in 1998. The record August SSTs were due in part to the continuation of El Niño conditions in the Eastern Pacific, which have substantially warmed a large stretch of the tropical Eastern Pacific Ocean. El Niño conditions are expected to amplify during the coming months, and record or near-record global ocean temperatures will probably continue.

August global surface temperatures 2nd to 6th warmest on record
The globe recorded its second warmest August since record keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. NOAA rated the period June - August (summer in the Northern Hemisphere, winter in the Southern Hemisphere) as the third warmest on record, and the year-to-date period, January - August 2009, as the fifth warmest such period on record. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies rated August 2009 as the 6th warmest August on record, and the period June-July-August as the 2nd warmest on record. The August satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest five miles of the atmosphere were between 7th and 9th warmest on record, according to the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Remote Sensing Systems.

Warmest August on record in Australia and New Zealand
Australia had its warmest August on record in 2009, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Temperatures averaged a remarkable 3.2°C (5.8°F) above average, making August 2009 the most anomalous month ever recorded in Australia. The previous record was set in April 2005, which was 3.1°C (5.6°C) above average. The month's highest temperature, 39.7°C (103°F) at Wyndham Airport on the 31st, fell only 0.3°C short of the Australian record for August. The Australian winter (June-July-August) was the 2nd warmest on record, next to the winter of 1996. New Zealand also experienced its warmest August on record (records go back 155 years).

A cool August and cool summer for the U.S.
For the contiguous U.S., the average August temperature was 0.6°F below average, making it the 30th coolest August in the 115-year record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. The U.S. as a whole was below normal for the summer period (June - August). A recurring upper level trough held the June - August temperatures down in the central states, where Michigan experienced its fifth coolest summer, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota their seventh coolest each, Nebraska its eighth, and Iowa its ninth. In contrast, the temperatures in Florida averaged out to be fourth warmest, while Washington and Texas experienced their eighth and ninth warmest summers, respectively.

U.S. precipitation in August was below average, as the month ranked 28th driest in the 115-year record. Arizona had its fourth driest August, New Mexico its fifth, and it was the eighth driest August for Colorado, Utah and Texas. Arizona observed its third driest summer, while both South Carolina and Georgia had their sixth driest. It was the 8th wettest summer on record in the Northeast.

At the end of August, 13% of the contiguous United States was in moderate-to-exceptional drought. This is a drop from the 19% figure observed at the beginning of the year. These extreme drought regions were exclusively in South to Central Texas. However, significant drought relief occurred in this region the second week of September, when a large area of tropical moisture settled in over the region, bringing heavy rains. About 19 percent of the contiguous U.S. fell in the severely to extremely wet categories in August.

Weak El Niño conditions continue
El Niño conditions continue over the tropical Eastern Pacific. Ocean temperatures in the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region", were 0.4°C above the threshold for a weak El Niño, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is maintaining an El Niño Advisory. Current conditions and model forecasts favor the continued development of a weak-to-moderate strength El Niño into the Northern Hemisphere Fall 2009, with the likelihood of at least a moderate strength El Niño (3-month Niño-3.4 SST index of +1.0°C or greater) during the Northern Hemisphere Winter 2009-10.

Sea ice extent in the Arctic 3rd lowest on record
August 2009 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent was the 3rd lowest since 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, behind 2006 and 2007. Sea ice extent has increased slightly over the past week, and we have probably reached the minimum for the year. If so, this year's minimum ranks as the 3rd lowest, behind 2007 and 2008. The fabled Northwest Passage appeared to melt free for brief period in August, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. This marks the third consecutive year--and third time in recorded history--the Northwest Passage has opened. The Northeast Passage along the north coast of Russia also opened up this year. This is the fourth time in the past five years the Northeast Passage has opened, and the fourth time in recorded history.

Quiet in the Atlantic
The remains of Hurricane Fred are generating a very small amount of heavy thunderstorm activity near 23N, 61W. These thunderstorms were generating winds up to 35 mph, according to this morning's QuikSCAT pass. However, QuikSCAT also showed that the remains do not have a surface circulation, and the organization of ex-Fred has degraded to point where NHC is no longer mentioning the system on their Tropical Weather Outlook. Water vapor satellite loops show that ex-Fred continues to suffer from dry air thanks to an upper-level low pressure system, and it is unlikely that Fred will ever regenerate. None of the computer models call for any tropical cyclones to develop anywhere in the Atlantic over the next seven days.


Figure 1. Two views of the eye of Super Typhoon Choi-wan. Left: the eye at 01:25 UTC 9/16/09, when Choi-wan was a Category 5 storm with 160 mph winds. Right: the eye at 03:40 UTC 9/17/09, when Choi-was was a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds. Image credit: MODIS Rapid Response System.

Typhoon Choi-Wan no longer a Category 5 storm
This year's first Category 5 tropical cycloneTyphoon Choi-Wan, has fallen to Category 4 strength after spending 42 hours as a 160 mph Category 5 storm. Choi-Wan--in Cantonese, a type of cloud--is over the open ocean south of Japan, and is not expected to impact any land areas. Choi-wan passed over tiny Alamagan Island, population 15, yesterday. All residents on the island were reported safe.

On this day twenty years ago
At 1 am AST on September 17, 1989, Hurricane Hugo made a direct hit Guadeloupe, pounding the island with Category 4 sustained winds of 140 mph. A storm surge of up to 2.5 meters (8 feet) topped by high battering waves smashed ashore. Hugo wreaked massive devastation on Guadeloupe, destroying 10,000 homes, leaving 35,000 of the island's 340,000 people homeless. Four people died and 107 were injured. An additional seven people were killed three days after the storm when a medical helicopter crashed while evacuating victims. Hugo's winds knocked the airport control tower out of commission, and almost completely destroyed the town of St. Francious, on the island's eastern end. Debris blocked at least 30% of the island's roads. Agriculture suffered massive losses that took years to recover from, as Hugo flattened 100% of the banana crop, 60% of the sugar cane crop, and ruined nearly all of the island's coconut palms. Most of the island's fishing fleet was wiped out, and total damage to the island from Hugo amounted to $880 million. Hugo was the strongest hurricane to hit the island since the legendary 1899 San Ciriaco Hurricane--the longest-lived Atlantic hurricane of all time--which brought 150 mph winds to Guadeloupe.


Figure 2. AVHRR visible satellite image of Hurricane Hugo taken on September 17, 1989. Image credit: Google Earth rendition of the NOAA HURSAT data base.

Hugo continued northwest and pulverized its next target, the island of Montserrat, several hours later. Though the eye missed Monserrat, the severe right front quadrant of Hugo's eyewall, still packing sustained winds of 140 mph, pounded the island. Nearly every home on Monserrat was destroyed or heavily damaged, leaving 11,000 of the island's 12,000 people homeless. Numerous schools, hospitals, and churches were destroyed, along with the police department, the government headquarters, and the main power station. Twenty foot waves in the harbor of the main town, Plymouth, destroyed the 180-foot stone jetty, and heavy rains of up to seven inches created mudslides that at the foot of Chances Peak that destroyed 21 homes. Ten people were killed on Montserrat, 89 injured, and damage topped $260 million, making it the most expensive hurricane in the island's history. Elecrtic, water, and telephone service were disrupted for weeks, necessitating a massive U.S. and British relief effort.


Figure 3. Hugo's storm surge inundates the coast of Montserrat Island. Image credit: NOAA photo library.

The nearby islands of St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Martin, Anguilla, and Dominica did not receive a blow from Hugo's eyewall, but damage was heavy nonetheless. One person was killed on Antigua, and 30% of the homes damaged. Dominica suffered the loss of 80% of its banana crop, and landslides cut off many towns for days. Shoreline erosion damage and crop losses totaled $43 million on St. Kitts, where one person was killed.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting IKE:


post 943....the stronger this puppy gets the likely it begins more WNW to NW. Hypothetically if this thing made Cat 4 id be more worried in SC than in SFL

98L has a shot if it can escape shear.


Ike, perhaps a little reading comprehension skills my benefit you bud. I made the statement "Hypothetically if" which infers exactly that. IF!! no where did I say FredEx was going to Cat 4 in fact I dont see it doing much of anything. Perhaps you should read some of the surrounding posts to better see the premise of my post. poster GatorWX mentioned that if fredex was stronger it would go toward SFL I simply made the point that a stronger Fred would move more NW and I'd be more concerned in SC than in SFL, noway nohow was I predicting a doomsday scenerio or anything of that type.

For the record though, I do work in Government GIS and a percentage of my position is in support of Emergency Management. included in this is disaster planning are these "what if" scenarios. we do drills every May for a Cat 4 Hurricane involving the national guard, state and local law enforcement etc. its needed and required by FEMA. So keep in mind there are folks out there (specifically Emergency mangement) that actually make careers off of "what ifs".
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Good Morning!

8AM TWO says Code Orange
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I'm not a bit surprise we have orange

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1520. IKE
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT FRI SEP 18 2009

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

THE SMALL LOW PRESSURE AREA ASSOCIATED WITH THE REMNANTS OF FRED IS
CENTERED ABOUT 475 MILES SOUTH OF BERMUDA. THIS SYSTEM IS MOVING
WESTWARD AT 10 TO 15 MPH WITH MINIMAL SHOWER ACTIVITY. UPPER-LEVEL
WINDS ARE NOT CURRENTLY FAVORABLE FOR SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT.
THERE IS A LOW CHANCE...LESS THAN 30 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM
BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE CENTERED ABOUT 950 MILES WEST OF THE
SOUTHERNMOST CAPE VERDE ISLANDS CONTINUES TO SHOW SIGNS OF
ORGANIZATION. WHILE UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE ONLY MARGINALLY
FAVORABLE...SOME SLOW DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS POSSIBLE AS IT
MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT AROUND 10 MPH OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF
DAYS. THERE IS A MEDIUM CHANCE...30 TO 50 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM
BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.


ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BRENNAN

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1519. WxLogic
Good morning...
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Good Morning Senior Chief mops and Brooms are manned and the Coffee Pot is on!
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Quoting hailcatcher:
What are the chances 98L will take a slightly more southerly track due to the ridge in place that Weather456 alludes to in his blog?


if you look at the track guidance note that most models take the higher route. Now one would think that a shallow system would head west (that being 98L does not develop), the weakness also appears in the shallow layer. So even though its a possibility that 98L could go south it appears to be a modest chance for now.
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Quoting dsauder:
Isn't interesting how the last 3 months of global sea surface temps have been at record highs while this year's hurricane season seems to have very little activity?


Both facts are due to El Nino.

Morning Storm. What's gonna kill off 98L?
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What are the chances 98L will take a slightly more southerly track due to the ridge in place that Weather456 alludes to in his blog?
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1513. dsauder
Isn't interesting how the last 3 months of global sea surface temps have been at record highs while this year's hurricane season seems to have very little activity?
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1511. IKE
Quoting TomSal:
RE: 1507 by IKE - What are "POPS"? Thanks.


Chance of rain....
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Quoting TomSal:
RE: 1507 by IKE - What are "POPS"? Thanks.


Probability of Precipitation
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1508. TomSal
RE: 1507 by IKE - What are "POPS"? Thanks.
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1507. IKE
From this mornings Miami,FL. discussion....

"LONG TERM...MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY...LOOKS LIKE WHAT SEEM TO BE
THE REMNANTS OF "FRED" WILL MAKE IT TO SOUTH FLORIDA BY MONDAY AS
THE LEFTOVER WAVE MOVES AROUND THE BASE OF THE ATLANTIC RIDGE.
THIS WILL NOT ONLY RESULT IN AN INCREASE IN POPS ONCE AGAIN, BUT
ALSO IN AN INCREASE IN THE EAST FLOW WITH AN INCREASE RISK OF RIP
CURRENTS ALONG THE ATLANTIC BEACHES. EVEN THOUGH "FRED" REMNANTS
WILL EITHER MOVE WEST OF THE AREA OR DISSIPATE BY TUE, POPS ARE
EXPECTED TO REMAIN IN THE SCT CATEGORY THROUGH THE WHOLE WEEK AS
THE ATLANTIC RIDGE ONCE AGAIN BUILDS WEST ADVECTING MORE TROPICAL
MOISTURE FROM THE WESTERN ATLANTIC."
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Looks like 07L is getting sheared by 20 knots of shear according to CIMMS. The NHC is correct this time, winds are not conductive for development at this time, may be favorable again later today or tomorrow. Conditions were actually favorable for formation yesterday, 07L just didn't do it. This kind of a situation can happen sometimes where a disturbance will have marginal to favorable conditions and will not do anything.
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I'm out for skool

see ya
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1504. IKE
Quoting hunkerdown:
OMG...cancel school, its evac time :)

on a more serious note, IKE, a fork will be stuck in this due to the cold weather, right ? ;0 ...sorry, just had to throw in sime early morning humor.


LOL...yeah, that never materialized either. That's twice models have called for it.
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Quoting Weather456:
Also the GFS has Fred-ex an open trough yes but regardless of how the nature of the system appears on numerical models, the GFS is being correct about 1) dept (shallow) and 2) development (which Fred isnt doing).


Correct
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Also the GFS has Fred-ex an open trough yes but regardless of how the nature of the system appears on numerical models, the GFS is being correct about 1) dept (shallow) and 2) development (which Fred isnt doing).
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Fred is NOT dead when it's still out there, it's not a TD nor TS either. Whoever predicted a category 4 hurricane yesterday out of it was probably on happy pills :)

I still won't be surprised if Fred becomes at least a TD at landfall. Sorry..
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Quoting futuremet:
This may cause quite a hysteria here this morning.
OMG...cancel school, its evac time :)

on a more serious note, IKE, a fork will be stuck in this due to the cold weather, right ? ;0 ...sorry, just had to throw in sime early morning humor.
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1499. IKE
Quoting alcomat:
read the last line in this forecast discussion,from midland,texas forecast discussion.I would say he is a little upset with the next [shift!] SYSTEM ACROSS THE CENTRAL PLAINS. INTERESTINGLY BOTH ARE SIMILAR
IN DEPICTING SHORTWAVE ENERGY DIVING SOUTHEASTWARD FROM NEW MEXICO
INTO EXTREME WEST TEXAS ON THE PERIPHERY OF THE LOW TUESDAY
THROUGH FRIDAY AND GENERATING PRECIPITATION MAINLY SOUTH AND WEST
OF THE PECOS RIVER. THINK THERE IS ENOUGH AGREEMENT TO INCLUDE
A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS IN THE
AFOREMENTIONED AREAS TUESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY. LATER SHITS WILL
NEED TO MONITOR.


LOL!
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1498. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Quoting Cotillion: 9:01 AM GMT on September 18, 2009
At least they haven't mixed names (yet.)

Teleporting storms between basins is a scary thought.


8 or 9 storms to go and I may be posting about Tropical Storm Wilma for a PAGASA cyclone
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Quoting futuremet:


Claudette formed from a mesoscale surface trough, and it was hard for the models to pick it up. The GFS still has FREDEX as an open wave, which is not the case.


I was taking about the model support when it developed in the Eastern Atlantic.

and yes ur right about Claudette.
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1496. aquak9
alcomat- night shifts never feel like they get the respect they deserve...
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Quoting Weather456:


In a year like 2009, I would wait for model consensus. Notice all 6 storms were well supported by numerical guidance and the others that didnt develop, not.

However I dont think Claudette was supported a much as the others.


Claudette formed from a mesoscale surface trough, and it was hard for the models to pick it up. The GFS still has FREDEX as an open wave, which is not the case.
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1494. alcomat
read the last line in this forecast discussion,from midland,texas forecast discussion.I would say he is a little upset with the next [shift!] SYSTEM ACROSS THE CENTRAL PLAINS. INTERESTINGLY BOTH ARE SIMILAR
IN DEPICTING SHORTWAVE ENERGY DIVING SOUTHEASTWARD FROM NEW MEXICO
INTO EXTREME WEST TEXAS ON THE PERIPHERY OF THE LOW TUESDAY
THROUGH FRIDAY AND GENERATING PRECIPITATION MAINLY SOUTH AND WEST
OF THE PECOS RIVER. THINK THERE IS ENOUGH AGREEMENT TO INCLUDE
A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS IN THE
AFOREMENTIONED AREAS TUESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY. LATER SHITS WILL
NEED TO MONITOR.
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1493. IKE
Quoting futuremet:
I noticed the 0z ECMWF is expecting some sort of instability in the GOM, as a result of the longwave trough split.


I saw that.
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Quoting futuremet:
I noticed the 0z ECMWF is expecting some sort of instability in the GOM, as a result of the longwave trough split.


In a year like 2009, I would wait for model consensus. Notice all 6 storms were well supported by numerical guidance and the others that didnt develop, not.

However I dont think Claudette was supported as well as the others.
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I noticed the 0z ECMWF is expecting some sort of instability in the GOM, as a result of the longwave trough split.
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37GHz radiance is more sensitive to the lower levels of a storm...unlike the 85GHz channel which is sensitive to deep convection.

This 37 GHz pass was taken by TRMM earlier this morning and the circulation 98L is clearly defined.

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This may cause quite a hysteria here this morning.
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Quoting IKE:


post 943....the stronger this puppy gets the likely it begins more WNW to NW. Hypothetically if this thing made Cat 4 id be more worried in SC than in SFL

98L has a shot if it can escape shear.


Expect another round of that when convection continues to increase, as it is right now. I have noticed that wischasters/downcasters posts are mostly influenced by convection waxing and waning.
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The circulation is just on the edge of the convective mass due to shear but otherwise the disturbance appears like it wants to form

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1486. IKE
Quoting futuremet:
And last night(between 6-8 pm CDST), there were people on here saying it had a chance to be a cat 4 hurricane.

lol You're kidding right?



post 943....the stronger this puppy gets the likely it begins more WNW to NW. Hypothetically if this thing made Cat 4 id be more worried in SC than in SFL

98L has a shot if it can escape shear.
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Quoting Weather456:


Which was similar to when they skip 95L and 96L becuz the EPAC also had those invest numbers the same time (late July).

At the time it happened that is what I suspected then Max Mayfield said it was due to the fact that the invest files were not cleaned out from the previous year. So it could not have been the case here.

Do you agree with Max or the fact that it was a mix up with the EPAC? Becuz the mix-up seems more understandable.


I respectfully disagree with Max, it was a mix up between basins in both cases. When they skipped 95L and 96L it was the first pass through the numbers, so the files would have a different name invest_alxx2009. Even if the 2008 files were still in the database (they were not) the 2009 numbers would not have already existed.
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Quoting Cotillion:
At least they haven't mixed names (yet.)

Teleporting storms between basins is a scary thought.


It happened indirectly.

Ivan 2004 was a monster and so was it twin in 2008 in the southwest Indian Ocean.

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At least they haven't mixed names (yet.)

Teleporting storms between basins is a scary thought.
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Quoting Bobbyweather:

Yes we did. NHC accidentally numbered 97E (Marty) 97L.
AL, 97, 2009091412, , BEST, 0, 155N, 1065W, 25, 0, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,


weird.
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


97L was the mixup with East Pacific 97E, so they basically skipped 97L as an actual Atlantic storm.


Which was similar to when they skip 95L and 96L becuz the EPAC also had those invest numbers the same time (late July).

At the time it happened that is what I suspected then Max Mayfield said it was due to the fact that the invest files were not cleaned out from the previous year. So it could not have been the case here.

Do you agree with Max or the fact that it was a mix up with the EPAC? Becuz the mix-up seems more understandable.
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Quoting Weather456:


I went back to check, we didn't have 97L.

Fred was 96L and then this (98L)

Yes we did. NHC accidentally numbered 97E (Marty) 97L.
AL, 97, 2009091412, , BEST, 0, 155N, 1065W, 25, 0, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
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Quoting Weather456:


I went back to check, we didn't have 97L.

Fred was 96L and then this (98L)


I think 97L was a mistake, I think it lasted all of a few minutes. They meant to designate 97E, which was done shortly after.
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Quoting Weather456:


I went back to check, we didn't have 97L.

Fred was 96L and then this (98L)


97L was the mixup with East Pacific 97E, so they basically skipped 97L as an actual Atlantic storm.
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Quoting futuremet:

Wait...isn't the thing at the bottom right ex=Fred?
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Quoting futuremet:


Yes


I went back to check, we didn't have 97L.

Fred was 96L and then this (98L)
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AL 98 2009091806 BEST 0 133N 385W 25 1009 DB
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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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