El Niño intensifies from weak to moderate; Phillippines under the gun again

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:57 PM GMT on October 27, 2009

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El Niño conditions have strengthened in recent weeks, crossing the threshold from "weak" to "moderate", according to data compiled by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. NOAA defines "moderate" El Niño conditions as existing when sea surface temperature (SST) departure from average in the equatorial Eastern Pacific (the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region") warms above 1.0°C. According to the latest time-series plot of "Niña 3.4 region" SSTs (Figure 1), we crossed that threshold last week. Monthly average SSTs will have to remain above 1.0°C for five consecutive months in order for this to be considered a "moderate" El Niño event. The ongoing intensification of El Niño could have major impacts on this winter's weather.


Figure 1. Departure of sea surface temperature (SST) from average for the past two years along the equatorial Eastern Pacific (the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region"). Moderate strength El Niño conditions occur when the Niña 3.4 anomaly exceeds 1.0°C, which occurred last week (red arrow). Weak El Niño conditions (Niña 3.4 anomaly between 0.5 - 1.0°C) were present from early June to mid-October. Image credit: NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

The intensification of El Niño is due to a combination of events in the ocean and the atmosphere. In the ocean, a slow-moving wave of water more than 5°C (9°F) warmer than average is progressing from west to east along the Equator (Figure 2). This wave, known as a "Kelvin" wave, is focused at a depth of 150 meters, but also affects surface waters. The Kelvin wave was at 175W on October 1, and is now near 140W, so it is traveling east at about 4 mph (100 miles/day). At the ocean surface, a burst of west-to-east winds near the Date Line has weakened the trade winds (Figure 3), which blow the opposite direction--east to west. The trade winds have weakened by 1 - 2 m/s over the past few weeks, allowing the Kelvin wave to push warm water eastward towards South America. The result of this interplay between ocean and air is an intensification of El Niño conditions from weak to moderate.


Figure 2. Animation of the ocean temperatures (top) and departure of ocean temperatures from average (bottom) as a function of depth along the Equator in the equatorial Eastern Pacific. The left side of the image is near Australia, and the right side is near the coast of South America. At the beginning frame in the bottom image on October 5, an ocean Kelvin wave is apparent at a depth of 150 meters, where the ocean temperature is up to 3°C above average (yellow colors). The wave travels eastwards at about 100 miles/day. By the final frame (October 25), the Kelvin wave has warmed to a temperature 5°C above average (orange colors). The Kelvin wave is helping to push the warm water at the surface to the east, as seen in the progression of the red and orange colors eastwards in the top image. I constructed the animation using the free ImageMagick package on a Linux machine, using data plotted up from the NOAA's Tropical Atmospheric Ocean (TAO) project web page.


Figure 3. Top: Sea Surface temperatures (colors) along the Equator between New Guinea and South America, with surface wind vectors overlaid. Note that there is a burst of westerly winds near the Date Line, 180W. This westerly wind burst is weakening the trade winds, which blow the opposite direction, east-to-west, over the ocean between the Date Line and the coast of South America. Bottom: Departure of wind speed from average along the Equator shows the effect of the westerly wind burst, which has weakened the trade winds at the surface by 1 - 2 m/s along a large swath of ocean near the Equator. The reduction in trade winds allows the warm water to the west to slosh eastwards, intensifying El Niño. Image credit: NOAA's Tropical Atmospheric Ocean (TAO) project web page.

Quiet in the Atlantic
There are no threat areas in the Atlantic to discuss, and none of the computer models is calling for tropical storm formation over the next seven days. This should be a quiet week in the region we need to be most concerned about for a late-season hurricane, the Western Caribbean. Wind shear is forecast to be marginal for tropical storm development this week, and most of the Caribbean is very dry at present. One possible area of concern early next week may be near Bermuda, where the models indicate a large non-tropical low may cut off from the jet stream 6 - 7 days from now. This low could potentially remain over warm waters long enough to acquire tropical characteristics and become Subtropical Storm Ida. Such a storm would only be a threat to Bermuda.

Philippines under the gun yet again
The typhoon-weary Philippine Islands have a new worry--Tropical Storm Mirinae is strengthening quickly east of the islands, and could be a typhoon later today. Latest infrared satellite loops show a large and expanding region of intense thunderstorms with very cold cloud tops, with well-developed spiral banding and excellent upper-level outflow developing. Wind shear is a moderate 15 knots, and the ocean temperatures are very warm, 29°C. These warm waters extend to great depth, and the Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential (TCHP) is 80 - 100 kJ/cm^2 along Mirinae's entire path to the Philippines. Values of TCHP in excess of 90 kJ/cm^2 are frequently associated with rapid intensification, and I expect Mirinae will be a major Category 3 or higher typhoon by Thursday. Mirinae is expected to track westward and hit the Philippines' Luzon Island on Saturday. With wind shear expected to remain in the low to moderate range, the models fairly united about a westward track over the Philippines, and plenty of ocean heat to feed off, the odds certainly favor a strike by Mirinae at Category 1 or higher strength on hard-hit Luzon.


Figure 2. Tropical Storm Mirinae, as it passed north of the Guam radar station last night.

Statisticians reject global cooling
An interesting exercise was conducted by the Associated Press (AP), who gave global average temperature data for the past 130 years to a group of independent statisticians, and told them to analyze the data without telling them what the data represented. These experts concluded that the data showed a distinct decades-long upward trend in the numbers, and no significant drop in the past ten years. This is not too surprising, since no scientific studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals have supported the idea that the globe is cooling. The AP exercise was the lead story in this morning's on-line version of the MSNBC news. Dr. Ricky Rood's climate change blog has an interest analysis of global warming and cooling trends, and how natural variability over years or decades can mask long-term trends. With El Niño cranking up to moderate levels heading into 2010, there's at least a 50/50 chance that year will end up beating 2005/1998 as the warmest year on record, putting the "global cooling" hype to rest for a few years.

Second Annual Portlight Honor Walk
When:
Saturday, December 5, 2009 or Sunday, December 6, 2009

What:
A nationwide grassroots event to raise funds for and awareness of Portlight's ongoing efforts specifically aimed at providing Christmas presents for kids and families devastated by the recent Atlanta floods, South Carolina wildfires, American Samoa tsunami, and other disasters that may occur.

Why:
Un-served, underserved and forgotten people are depending on us.

How:
We need one hundred people across the country to commit to walking one mile on this day, and to raise at least $300.00 in sponsorship from friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, etc. Participants can choose where to walk--it can be the park, the mall the neighborhood--anywhere you choose. The first 100 participants to raise at least $300 will receive a commemorative T-Shirt.

To register, simply e-mail your intention to participate at paul@portlight.org

Check the Portlight featured Weather Underground Blog regularly for updates!

The Honor Walk Sponsor Form available here will help you keep track of funds and pledges:
http://www.portlight.org/images/walkerform.pdf

Portlight's Paul Timmons on the Barometer Bob Show Thursday night
Portlight's Paul Timmons will be appearing live this Thursday at 8pm EDT on the Barometer Bob Show, an Internet radio show that I have appeared on several times in the past. Be sure to catch his discussion of how Portlight got started, where they're going, and what's new!

Next post
I'll have a new post on Wednesday, when I'll discuss how the recent intensification of El Niño may affect winter in the U.S.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting NRAamy:
184. tornadodude 10:48 AM PDT on October 27, 2009
Photo removed in an attempt to avoid a ban (:


Smart boy...learn from me....

;)


(;
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184. tornadodude 10:48 AM PDT on October 27, 2009
Photo removed in an attempt to avoid a ban (:


Smart boy...learn from me....

;)
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From NWS:

Record October Snowfall At North Platte

The total monthly snowfall through October 22nd at North Platte's Lee Bird Field is 18.0 inches. This sets a new record for the maximum amount of snow ever recorded at the station during the month of October. The old record was 15.7 inches set in the year 1969.

The snow that shattered the old October record came from two storms. The first occurred on October 9th and 10th. That storm officially dumped 13.8 inches of snow at North Platte. The second snow event occurred on October 22nd, when 4.2 inches fell.

North Platte has also set daily snowfall records on three occasions during the month. The 2.0 inches of snow that fell on the 9th, 11.8 inches that fell on the 10th, and 4.2 inches that fell on the 22nd were all the maximum amounts recorded on those days. The snowfall on the 10th was the most ever recorded on one day in October at North Platte, and the 13.8 inch storm total on the 9th and 10th was the most snowfall in any two days during the month!
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Quoting NRAamy:
It's going; I took a fall on Sunday evening and re-injured my back; I can;t tell whether it's all muscular or if I did something structural

Oh no!! I'm so sorry, Jerry!!!

:(


I'm okay, for the most part...I can move around but I'm back to no position being comfortable, numb and burning down the leg and constant pain in my back and leg...pretty much back to where I was in March when this flare up started...
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting Floodman:


Smarta$$


LOL
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Quoting NRAamy:
It's going; I took a fall on Sunday evening and re-injured my back; I can;t tell whether it's all muscular or if I did something structural

Oh no!! I'm so sorry, Jerry!!!

:(


):
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Quoting tornadodude:


¿noʎ dןǝɥ pןnoʍ ǝןqɐʇ uoısɹǝʌuı uɐ ǝqʎɐɯ

haha sorry, couldnt resist (:


Smarta$$
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
It's going; I took a fall on Sunday evening and re-injured my back; I can;t tell whether it's all muscular or if I did something structural

Oh no!! I'm so sorry, Jerry!!!

:(
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187.

very interesting, expect the unexpected
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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
The squall line will weaken significantly before reaching w central Florida. All counties north of Hernando will deal with some strong storms though.


I dont see it weakening that much before it hits w central FL, its holding together pretty well right now.
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189. IKE
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TALLAHASSEE FL
153 PM EDT TUE OCT 27 2009

...TORNADO WATCH 776 CANCELLED FOR THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE COUNTIES
WEST OF THE APALACHICOLA RIVER...

...A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM EDT FOR THE FLORIDA
BIG BEND AND ADJACENT PORTIONS OF THE GULF COASTAL WATERS AND
SOUTHWEST AND SOUTH CENTRAL GEORGIA...
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From the Denver NWS:

...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT
TO 6 PM MDT THURSDAY...

A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO
6 PM MDT THURSDAY.

RAIN SHOWERS WILL DEVELOP THIS EVENING AND THEN CHANGE TO SNOW
AFTER MIDNIGHT. SNOW WILL CONTINUE ACROSS THE AREA INTO THURSDAY.
SNOW MAY BECOME HEAVY AT TIMES FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH
THURSDAY. SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS WILL RANGE FROM 8 TO 14 INCHES
WITH HIGHER AMOUNTS POSSIBLE IN SOME AREAS. GUSTY NORTH TO
NORTHEAST WINDS WILL PRODUCE AREAS OF BLOWING SNOW AND REDUCED
VISIBILITIES FROM WEDNESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY.
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From ocala.com -- a little hype in the slug :-)

Hurricane could still strike U.S. this season
November may yet spawn a monster, forecasters caution

By Karen Voyles
Staff writer

Published: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 6:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 26, 2009 at 11:06 p.m.

The staff at the National Hurricane Center has some advice for parents this Halloween week.

"Don't raid your emergency hurricane supplies for candles for jack-o-lanterns," said center spokesman Dennis Feltgen. "There is still more than a month left to hurricane season."

Feltgen said several factors reduce the chances of a hurricane developing this year but there are no certainties when it comes to tropical weather.

"Although 97 percent of all tropical storms develop between June 1 and November 30, we have had tropical cyclones in every month outside of the season," Feltgen said. "It takes only one storm hitting you to make it a really bad year."

So far in the Atlantic hurricane season, the center has identified 10 tropical weather systems including two hurricanes, Bill and Fred; six tropical storms, Ana, Claudette, Danny, Erika, Grace and Henri; and two tropical depressions. No hurricanes have made landfall on the eastern half of the United States.

Forecasters said factors influencing the weather appear to be suppressing hurricane development this season.

"A key player was the presence of a moderate strength El Nino in the Atlantic," Feltgen said. "That system increases wind shear across tropical development areas so tropical disturbances that normally would have developed were sheared apart and had no chance to strengthen."

Dry air in the mid- to upper levels of the atmosphere also reduced the likelihood of hurricane development because they robbed tropical systems of a necessary ingredient to intensify - moisture.

"Another factor was the weather pattern that was set up during peak season that made storms re-curve out into the Atlantic," Feltgen said. "[Hurricane] Bill [was] an excellent example of that - lots of bad surf but no land-falling hurricane as it went by."
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
Quoting tornadodude:


this?



At my house, 8m miles south of St. Aug proper, on the coast, looks like it will race (correct term too) NE, missing us entirely and I need the rain.
SE GA gets whacked. Anybody ever notice how much rain they get year on year?

It's a plot!
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184. pretty funny! (:

hehehe
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Photo removed in an attempt to avoid a ban (:
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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
The squall line will weaken significantly before reaching w central Florida. All counties north of Hernando will deal with some strong storms though.


So not expected for SE Fla ? My lawn is brown LOL
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Quoting Floodman:


It's going; I took a fall on Sunday evening and re-injured my back; I can;t tell whether it's all muscular or if I did something structural


Uh, try Biofreeze, if it's muscular, it'll let up. Not, try to see an O.D., DC and MD rolled into one.
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From today's Emergency Personnel Sit. Report:

NOAA Prepares Citizens for Possible El Niño Impacts in Hawaii and the Pacific

NOAA climate experts say the strengthening El Niño could mean a greater chance of late-season tropical cyclone development in the central Pacific, more high surf and less rainfall for the Hawaiian Islands during the upcoming wet season, which normally runs from October through April.

“Following the hurricane season, the presence of El Niño is expected to bring drier than normal conditions for the remainder of the wet season,” said Kevin Kodama, senior service hydrologist at NOAA’s Honolulu Forecast Office. “Drier than normal conditions will worsen existing severe to extreme drought over portions of the State if early wet season rainfall in October and November does not materialize.”

Current sea surface temperatures and computer models point to a continued strengthening of El Niño conditions through the upcoming winter season. The central Pacific has already seen an above average number of tropical cyclones during this year’s hurricane season. An El Niño has the potential to create conditions that are ripe for tropical systems to develop near the end of the hurricane season.

The Territories of Guam and American Samoa and the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands are also subject to weather extremes during El Niño. (NOAA, Oct 20, 2009)


Puerto Rico Petrochemical Storage Facility Fire – Final Update
An explosion and fire at a petrochemical storage facility near San Juan, Puerto Rico on October 23 was extinguished October 25, 2009. Located in the City of Cantano, 21 of 40 storage tanks containing diesel, gasoline, fuel oil, jet fuel, and other petroleum products were damaged - 17 burned and 4 collapsed. FEMA-3306-EM-PR was approved Oct 24 for Public Assistance (Category B).
Current Situation
All fires have been extinguished and recovery operations are underway. Shelters are closed; evacuees have returned to their homes; and evacuated inmates have been returned to their correctional facilities. All schools are scheduled to be open today. Maritime operations in San Juan Harbor have returned to normal.
Ongoing Actions/objectives:
• A Joint Field Office (JFO) is being established in Hato Rey, PR. A Public Assistance Applicant Briefing is scheduled for October 27, 2009. Two FEMA Liaison Officers, four RII IMAT personnel and the Caribbean Area Division are supporting the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA).
• Environmental monitoring and containment is being coordinated through a Unified Command Group (UCG) of EPA, USCG, and PR Environmental Quality Board (PREQB). The UCG will be operating 24 hours a day with 12 hour operational periods.
• Caribbean Petroleum Corporation (CaPeCo) will implement oil spill containment and recovery operations to prevent additional oil and oily waste discharge. UCG will monitor CaPeCo oil containment operations and assess the current/potential impact to the surrounding wetlands, streams, and ponds in the affected area.
• Cause of the explosion and fires remains under investigation. (Region II, JFO)
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
oh, my....look what i've started :)

LOL



er, (:
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Is that what that is heading toward Florida,a blog?
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Quoting Hurricane1956:
Thank you for your response,about the huge blog approching the West Coast of Florida


176. there's a huge blog approaching the west coast of Florida? oh, no! run for your lives! it's the BLOG! LOL


just messin' with ya :)
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The squall line will weaken significantly before reaching w central Florida. All counties north of Hernando will deal with some strong storms though.
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Quoting Chicklit:

Spotters are requested to activate in the ECFl area, according to the NWS report.

IR Loop
Thank you for your response,about the huge blog approching the West Coast of Florida,if I may ask what do you mean with the activation of spotters in the East coast of South FLorida?,somebody posted a while ago that this Huge blog coming from the GOM will not get to the south east coast of Florida?,it looks coming this way for sure!! any comments.
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Quoting Hurricane1956:
Thank you for your response,about the huge blog approching the West Coast of Florida,if I may ask what do you mean with the activation of spotters in the East coast of South FLorida?,somebody posted a while ago that this Huge blog coming from the GOM will not get to the south east coast of Florida?,it looks coming this way for sure!! any comments.


this?

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Quoting Floodman:


It will be my great pleasure to, ummm...yeah, that's it! Give you moral support!

Okay, back to lurking and dozing...


¿noʎ dןǝɥ pןnoʍ ǝןqɐʇ uoısɹǝʌuı uɐ ǝqʎɐɯ

haha sorry, couldnt resist (:
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.
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Thank you for your response,about the huge blog approching the West Coast of Florida,if I may ask what do you mean with the activation of spotters in the East coast of South FLorida?,somebody posted a while ago that this Huge blog coming from the GOM will not get to the south east coast of Florida?,it looks coming this way for sure!! any comments.
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169. I understand; forgot to mention my chiro. is also a qualified physical therapist. Glad you've got a good team!
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
Quoting presslord:
...so...

I hope y'all are planning to listen in and give me moral support Thursday night...


It will be my great pleasure to, ummm...yeah, that's it! Give you moral support!

Okay, back to lurking and dozing...
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
I've been taking care of it the best I can; I have a good pain managenment guy and a good neurosurgeon but I am not a good candidate for surgery...chronic sciatica due to degenerative disc disease and degenerative arthritis. It's mostly pain meds and PT to get my strength and range of motion back. I tried chiropractors early on but they provided no relief (at least nothing long term).

Thanks for the concern everyone...I appreciate it!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting presslord:
...so...

I hope y'all are planning to listen in and give me moral support Thursday night...

Yes, it will be my first (big grin.)
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
...there's also a chat function y'all can use to give me a hard time...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10490
Quoting pearlandaggie:
159. nope, not that i noticed :)

Oh well, chalk one up. I took a nap, needed more sleep due to aforesaid rotten weather and rotten football game, don't even need to mention which one.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
Quoting presslord:
...so...

I hope y'all are planning to listen in and give me moral support Thursday night...


I plan on it
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...so...

I hope y'all are planning to listen in and give me moral support Thursday night...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10490
Quoting NEwxguy:
Hey,Flood,sorry to hear about the fall,back injury,muscular or structural is one of the most painful things to go through.Get lots of heat on it.

Good suggestion, NE; or alternate heat and ice like sports injuries(?) I believe ice comes first? See that's why I sometimes call chiro. or MD.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
The possible rotation mentioned in post 158 has weakened.
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Hey,Flood,sorry to hear about the fall,back injury,muscular or structural is one of the most painful things to go through.Get lots of heat on it.
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159. nope, not that i noticed :)
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Quoting Floodman:


It's going; I took a fall on Sunday evening and re-injured my back; I can;t tell whether it's all muscular or if I did something structural

Know or have a good chiropractor, Flood? A responsible one will, or course, refer you to the correct medical specialist if it's something beyond their skills. My chiro. is an ex. professional Martha Graham dancer who didn't believe in chiropractry until she found they were the only ones who could keep her dancing when she injured her feet (that's apropos of nothing, I just think it's so interesting, but that's me.)

Anyway, I hope you feel better soon.

Did anyone else have trouble getting into WU this morning? I hope I'm not repeating a discussion from earlier today. I was able to get into all other sites. I'm wondering if it had anything to do with the beastly rain storms we had this morning and being on a wireless laptop. I know that does not sound scientific, but have prior experience...it was very hard to get on our laptops in Florida post hurricane Wilma when there was thick cloud cover. I believe cloud cover interfered with the satellites. Any better explanations why I couldn't get on wunderland this morning. I don't think their server was down(?)
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
It looks like a little rotation in western Liberty County on the Florida Panhandle. Its weak atm. It's cell ID is Q7 for those using the radar.
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154. oh, no! well, i hope you get well, soon! keep us informed, please :)
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Quoting Floodman:


It's going; I took a fall on Sunday evening and re-injured my back; I can;t tell whether it's all muscular or if I did something structural


ouch, well I hope you get to feeling better
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151. sorry...meant "cardbus"...fixed it in the original post!
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Quoting tornadodude:
hey Flood, how's it going?


It's going; I took a fall on Sunday evening and re-injured my back; I can;t tell whether it's all muscular or if I did something structural
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
151. well, that sux...i would've hope they'd have addressed those issues by now...oh well :)
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hey Flood, how's it going?
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Quoting pearlandaggie:


my only problem with Ubuntu was that the knowledge base for making carbus wireless adapters work was not well developed. when i was trying Ubuntu, i never did get either or my wireless adapters to work properly.


I agree...Unbuntu has some probelms with hardware, particularly wireless adapters
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Well,if we in a moderate El Nino,I'll have to research what that means for New England winter.
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Quoting atmoaggie:


Outside of games, there is nothing that one can do on Windoze that cannot be done on Linux...and for free to boot.

And for how to do things in Linux, the Ubuntu repository of questions asked and answered is as thorough as they come.

Here is a stability story for you, I once turned off a Linux server at work to move it to another office, but checked how long it had been running before I did. 680 (oops) 860 days without a restart and running hard on weather models, buoy data, SST, etc. 24/7 for the entire time.

That cannot be done on a Windoze machine. It would become a boat anchor after the first month...


I would tend to disagree; I have a server in my office that has been running for the last 472 days without a hiccup; it would have been longer but I had to take it down to complete a third party software install; while this machine hasn;t been doing a great many high end calculations, it HAS been running logins and all remote services as well as some thin client remote software to about 30 users...it's all in knowing how to config the box
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922

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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.