Snowmageddon storm clobbers the Mid-Atlantic with 2 - 3 feet of snow

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 11:08 PM GMT on February 06, 2010

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It's a very white world in the Mid-Atlantic today, where the historic blizzard of 2010 has buried residents under a record-breaking two to three feet of snow. The storm, which President Obama referred to as "Snowmageddon" in a speech before the Democratic National Committee winter meeting, set the all-time record for heaviest snowfall in Delaware history, thanks to the 26.5" that fell in Wilmington (old state record: 25" in the President's Day storm of 2003). "Snowmageddon" dumped the second heaviest at Philadelphia 28.5"), second heaviest at Atlantic City (18.2"), third heaviest at Baltimore (24.8"), and the 4th heaviest at Washington D.C. (17.8"). Several locations in Maryland have seen over three feet of snow, with the northern Washington D.C. suburb of Colesville receiving 40", and the southern Baltimore suburb of Elkridge receiving 38.3". While the blizzard was not an exceptionally strong storm--the central pressure was a rather unimpressive 986 mb at the height of the blizzard, at 9am EST Saturday--it was an exceptionally wet storm. The melted equivalent precipitation for the blizzard exceeded three inches along its core snow belt. That's an phenomenal amount of moisture for a winter storm. The blizzard formed a very unstable region aloft where thunderstorms were able to build, and there were many reports of thundersnow during the height of the storm. These embedded thunderstorms were able to generate very heavy snow bursts of 2 - 3 inches per hour.

A new storm expected to affect the area Tuesday may add to the immense pile of snow on the ground, though the precipitation may partially fall as rain. With only a slow warm up in store for the mid-Atlantic over the next ten days, the snow will stick around for a while. This is a good thing, since a sudden thaw or heavy rain event could generate considerable flooding, if the three inches of precipitation locked in the snow is suddenly released.

Today's blizzard is the second major snowstorm of 16+ inches to affect the Washington D.C./Baltimore region this winter--the other being the 16.4" storm of December 19 - 20. According to the National Climatic Data Center, the expected return period in the Washington D.C./Baltimore region for snowstorms with more than 16 inches of snow is about once every 25 years. Thus, a one-two punch of two major Mid-Atlantic Nor'easters with 16+ inches of snow in one winter is something that should happen only once every 625 years. Such an event has not happened since the beginning of the historical record in 1870. The numbers are even more impressive for Philadelphia, which has had two snowstorms exceeding 23" this winter. According to the National Climatic Data Center, the return period for a 22+ inch snow storm is once every 100 years--and we've had two 100-year snow storms in Philadelphia this winter. That should happen only once every 10,000 years, in today's climate. Of course, the last ice age was just ending around 12,000 years ago, so this probability number has to be viewed with a some skepticism. Still, the two huge snowstorms this winter in the Mid-Atlantic are definitely a very rare event one should see only once every few hundred years.


Figure 1. "Snowmageddon", the Nor'easter of February 5 - 6, just off the Mid-Atlantic coast, at 12:01 pm EST Saturday 2/6/10. Image credit: NASA GOES project.

The top 10 snowstorms on record for Baltimore:

1. 28.2", Feb 15-18, 2003
2. 26.5", Jan 27-29, 1922
3. 24.8", Feb 5-6, 2010
4. 22.8", Feb 11-12, 1983
5. 22.5", Jan 7-8, 1996
6. 22.0", Mar 29-30, 1942
7. 21.4", Feb 11-14, 1899
8. 21.0", Dec 19-20, 2009
9. 20.0", Feb 18-19, 1979
10. 16.0", Mar 15-18, 1892

The top 10 snowstorms on record for Washington, D.C.:

1. 28.0", Jan 27-28, 1922
2. 20.5", Feb 11-13, 1899
3. 18.7", Feb 18-19, 1979
4. 17.8" Feb 5-6, 2010
5. 17.1", Jan 6-8, 1996
6. 16.7", Feb 15-18, 2003
7. 16.6", Feb 11-12, 1983
8. 16.4", Dec 19-20, 2009 (Snowpocalypse)
9. 14.4", Feb 15-16, 1958
10. 14.4", Feb 7, 1936

Top 9 snowstorms for Philadelphia:

1. 30.7", Jan 7-8, 1996
2. 28.5", Feb 5-6, 2010
3. 23.2", Dec 19-20, 2009
4. 21.3", Feb 11-12, 1983
5. 21.0", Dec 25-26, 1909
6. 19.4", Apr 3-4, 1915
7. 18.9", Feb 12-14, 1899
8. 16.7", Jan 22-24, 1935
9. 15.1", Feb 28-Mar 1, 1941

I'll have a new blog on Monday, when I'll discuss if record snow storms are inconsistent with a world experiencing warming. Have a great Super Bowl weekend, everyone!

Jeff Masters

cleaning up the cars (chills)
cleaning up the cars
Blizzard 2010 (TonyInDC)
Blizzard  2010
winter scenic (gingyb)
From the looks of the cars we may never dig out.
winter scenic
Hubby Tries to Clear the Snow. (Proserpina)
Hubby tried to use the snow-blower to clear the snow, unfortunately for him the snow is too deep for the snow-blower. The shovel and his arms will have to do the job.
Hubby Tries to Clear the Snow.

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actually my wife says she has a feeling we are gonna get socked in at the end of winter which normally is late mar mid april so we still got a chance of seeing some good snow yet at the moment it just don't look that way i think entire grt lake region is in a snow drought this year and may mean a long dry hot summer ahead
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Quoting Appalachiangypsy:
They've only called schools for tomorrow here...

Did I just post a weather thing? ;)

BTW Awake- the roads around my house look pretty good- at least the ones I can see from my house- I haven't left yet


You sure DID post a bona-fide weather report! :)

Amazing feeling, isn't it?

Glad your roads are good. You mean they haven't announced school closing or opening yet?
I think your area has more grit than ours (that wouldn't be hard)! :)

When IS this SuperBowl gonna' start? Not that I'm going anywhere...but want to start chili and not miss kickoff!
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
Quoting Bordonaro:


KOG, just rub a lil more salt into that open wound why dontch!!
sorry bo but yeah the mid atlantic is gonna get beat up bad real bad as storm track remains locked south of grt lakes region therefore our lack of snow is there demise
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
no can do pattern stays the same till after feb 25 then severe season begins with a slow rising storm track till spring on mar the 21 as winter slowly starts to come to an end

Remember, El Nino will end this year and this coming winter is going to hit Southern Ontario very hard, just wait!
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
no can do pattern stays the same till after feb 25 then severe season begins with a slow rising storm track till spring on mar the 21 as winter slowly starts to come to an end


KOG, just rub a lil more salt into that open wound why don't cha!!
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Quoting Bordonaro:
Dear God in Heaven, please bring the CONUS springtime, about 1 month early please. This is the weirdest weather I have seen in the Eastern CONUS since the winter of 77-78!
no can do pattern stays the same till after feb 25 then severe season begins with a slow rising storm track till spring on mar the 21 as winter slowly starts to come to an end
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Quoting weatherbro:


That one looks to take a much further southerly track. Giving Jackson, Birmingham, Atlanta, Charleston, and Nashville a snowstorm to remember! I'll call it The Valentinepocalypse lol!


Great the "Valentineapocalypse" snowstorm, the LAST thing the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast needs right now. Eventually, ALL that snow will melt and if it melts all at once, look out, serious, major flooding. The snowpack now has between 2.5-3" water equivalent, add about inch or two, sheesh!
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Dear God in Heaven, please bring the CONUS springtime, about 1 month early please. This is the weirdest weather I have seen in the Eastern CONUS since the winter of 77-78!
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Quoting easyphoto:
Is there another 100 year storm for the one expected to be a Monster Storm next Weekend?


That one looks to take a much further southerly track. Giving Jackson, Birmingham, Atlanta, Charleston, and Nashville a snowstorm to remember! I'll call it The Valentinepocalypse lol!
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Quoting Appalachiangypsy:
=/...URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
315 PM EST SUN FEB 7 2010


DCZ001-MDZ004>007-009>011-013-014-VAZ040-042-052>054-501-080415-
/O.NEW.KLWX.WS.A.0005.100209T1900Z-100210T2100Z/
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA-FREDERICK MD-CARROLL-NORTHERN BALTIMORE-
HARFORD-MONTGOMERY-HOWARD-SOUTHERN BALTIMORE-PRINCE GEORGES-
ANNE ARUNDEL-RAPPAHANNOCK-LOUDOUN-
PRINCE WILLIAM/MANASSAS/MANASSAS PARK-FAIRFAX-
ARLINGTON/FALLS CHURCH/ALEXANDRIA-NORTHERN FAUQUIER-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...WASHINGTON...FREDERICK...WESTMINSTER...
GAITHERSBURG...COLUMBIA...BALTIMORE...ANNAPOLIS...LEESBURG...
MANASSAS...MANASSAS PARK...FAIRFAX...ALEXANDRIA...FALLS CHURCH...
WARRENTON
315 PM EST SUN FEB 7 2010

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A
WINTER STORM WATCH...IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON.

* PRECIPITATION TYPE...SNOW.

* ACCUMULATIONS...POTENTIAL FOR 5 OR MORE INCHES OF SNOW.

* TIMING...MID TO LATE TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH WEDNESDAY
AFTERNOON.

* TEMPERATURES...TEMPERATURES AT OR JUST ABOVE FREEZING AT THE
ONSET TUESDAY AFTERNOON. TEMPERATURES WILL DROP INTO THE MID TO
UPPER 20S TUESDAY NIGHT AND WEDNESDAY.

* WINDS...LIGHT SOUTHEASTERLY WINDS TUESDAY BECOMING NORTH-
NORTHWESTERLY 15 TO 25 MPH WEDNESDAY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT
SNOW ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE
LATEST FORECASTS.

&&

$$

KLEIN/KRAMAR


Oh my goodness, enough is enough already. You folks in MD/DC cannot catch a break!!!
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They've only called schools for tomorrow here...

Did I just post a weather thing? ;)

BTW Awake- the roads around my house look pretty good- at least the ones I can see from my house- I haven't left yet
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
=/...URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
315 PM EST SUN FEB 7 2010


DCZ001-MDZ004>007-009>011-013-014-VAZ040-042-052>054-501-080415-
/O.NEW.KLWX.WS.A.0005.100209T1900Z-100210T2100Z/
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA-FREDERICK MD-CARROLL-NORTHERN BALTIMORE-
HARFORD-MONTGOMERY-HOWARD-SOUTHERN BALTIMORE-PRINCE GEORGES-
ANNE ARUNDEL-RAPPAHANNOCK-LOUDOUN-
PRINCE WILLIAM/MANASSAS/MANASSAS PARK-FAIRFAX-
ARLINGTON/FALLS CHURCH/ALEXANDRIA-NORTHERN FAUQUIER-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...WASHINGTON...FREDERICK...WESTMINSTER...
GAITHERSBURG...COLUMBIA...BALTIMORE...ANNAPOLIS...LEESBURG...
MANASSAS...MANASSAS PARK...FAIRFAX...ALEXANDRIA...FALLS CHURCH...
WARRENTON
315 PM EST SUN FEB 7 2010

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A
WINTER STORM WATCH...IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON.

* PRECIPITATION TYPE...SNOW.

* ACCUMULATIONS...POTENTIAL FOR 5 OR MORE INCHES OF SNOW.

* TIMING...MID TO LATE TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH WEDNESDAY
AFTERNOON.

* TEMPERATURES...TEMPERATURES AT OR JUST ABOVE FREEZING AT THE
ONSET TUESDAY AFTERNOON. TEMPERATURES WILL DROP INTO THE MID TO
UPPER 20S TUESDAY NIGHT AND WEDNESDAY.

* WINDS...LIGHT SOUTHEASTERLY WINDS TUESDAY BECOMING NORTH-
NORTHWESTERLY 15 TO 25 MPH WEDNESDAY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT
SNOW ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE
LATEST FORECASTS.

&&

$$

KLEIN/KRAMAR
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Wow what a storm,Here in Iowa we get 6 inches and its alot.
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Quoting WaterWitch11:
BIG NEW SUNSPOT: In less than 24 hours, a monsterous sunspot group has materialized in the sun's northern hemisphere.They have already erupted at least six times this weekend, producing a series of C- and M-class solar flares. These flares have caused brief ionization events in Earth's upper atmosphere, but little else so far. There is a 5% chance of a much more powerful X-flare in the next 24 hours, according to NOAA forecasters, so bigger things could be in the offing.





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BIG NEW SUNSPOT: In less than 24 hours, a monsterous sunspot group has materialized in the sun's northern hemisphere.They have already erupted at least six times this weekend, producing a series of C- and M-class solar flares. These flares have caused brief ionization events in Earth's upper atmosphere, but little else so far. There is a 5% chance of a much more powerful X-flare in the next 24 hours, according to NOAA forecasters, so bigger things could be in the offing.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 3 Comments: 1634
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
I just like the label.


Sure! And I just look at PLAYBOY for the articles!

Oh ouch, blog burn ... :(

[Well, of course you only need to read the articles -- look at your Mrs. Now you can show her this post.]
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
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Quoting Unfriendly:
AIM - I hate driving in DC in normal weather... can't imagine driving through the city in its current state.

I'd stick to 95.


Just saw this, as we just got in from shoveling (I should say, more shoveling). Thanks, and hope you and yours are well and fine! Plows have been through here twice, and we can get out...but not going to!

ADD: Have been reading back posts; thank you also Bordo, amd, Charlotte__ , all helpful; seriously considering road trip.

WHOOPS, while adding on -- SUPER BOWL TIME! ENJOY!!!
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
The GFS is forecast for an additional 16-18 inches of snow for folks around Philadelphia, Baltimore and back towards the nation's capital in the dendritic growth zone.

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Is there another 100 year storm for the one expected to be a Monster Storm next Weekend?
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Snowmageddon ?!!

Everything's a "mageddon" to Obama.
Flumageddon, budgetmageddon, gitmomageddon, publicoptionmageddon ... gmab.
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456. beell
Quoting CatchMeifUCan:
SuperBowl Conditions:

Miami, FL (Kickoff T-Minus 4:30:34)

62.8 °F
Partly Cloudy
Humidity: 38%
Dew Point: 37 °F
Wind: 18.3 mphfrom the South
Wind Gust: 18.3 mph
Pressure: 29.88 in (Falling)
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 7 out of 16
Clouds: Few 3500 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 21 ft


875. beell 4:57 AM GMT on January 25, 2010
For Miami-02/07/10:
A big ole fair-weather ridge over FL.
70's at the surface.


Chalk one up for the GFS. The ridge? A little late but close.
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AIM - I hate driving in DC in normal weather... can't imagine driving through the city in its current state.

I'd stick to 95.
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Quoting WaterWitch11:
Link

footage of mudslide today at flintridge, ca


just thought i'd repost
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 3 Comments: 1634
I know I've been critical of FEMA at times...but they deserve major props for this...

They are mandating that ALL shelters be FULLY acessible to people with disabilities....and are discontinuing the use of the demeaning phrase "special needs"...

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Quoting CatchMeifUCan:
Go Saints!


I'll third that.
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Quoting CatchMeifUCan:
Go Saints!


I'll second that!
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If you do decide to venture out make sure you have plenty of gas, an emergency winter travel kit (cell phone, blankets, etc), and make sure you let someone know where your going (primary and alternate routes), and what time you expect to arrive.
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Bordo, amd, could I (safely) get out of this going south on 95 (or alternate routes, even 1, I don't care)?




Trust me Interstates and main highways are always gonna be safer than secondary roads, either way though take it really really slow. Learned that lesson the hard way.
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Speaking of the warm water off Uruguay, one town in the south of the country had its humidex hit 52(C) [feels like 126F] yesterday. This is what happens when you have a combination of a weakened Humboldt Current, a strengthening South Atlantic warm pool, and warm water colliding with more warm water at the mouth of the Parana River. Add continental heat to that, and you've got a hot humid mix.

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Quoting IKE:


Oh well...thanks for the info.

Maybe it will change in the coming days.


No problem. I'll definitely be on the look out for you guys.
Right now I would put the rain/snow line just south of interstate 20.
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441. IKE
Quoting Drakoen:


It would appear that way on the 850mb charts but on the 850mb-700mb charts there is warm air advection above the PBL with critical thickness values within the complete melting range.


Oh well...thanks for the info.

Maybe it will change in the coming days.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Good afternoon guys :)

We got our fair share of snow up here, about a foot. New Jersey really got pummeled, though, from what I've heard, with some amounts upwards of 2 feet.

For anyone interested in the snowfall amounts: Link from NWS

Now to brace for Wednesday :|
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Bordo, amd, could I (safely) get out of this going south on 95 (or alternate routes, even 1, I don't care)?


You can check out MD Hwy department to see if those routes are cleared up. Link below:

Link
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Quoting IKE:
A little closer at 138 hours(12Z GFS)...



It would appear that way on the 850mb charts but on the 850mb-700mb charts there is warm air advection above the PBL with critical thickness values within the complete melting range.
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437. amd
Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Bordo, amd, could I (safely) get out of this going south on 95 (or alternate routes, even 1, I don't care)?



as long as you do it before rush hour Wednesday morning. Rush hour Wednesday morning will be challenging to travel, to say the least.
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Quoting amd:


another major snowstorm expected from dc to Philadelphia, but this time, the heavy snow expands to NE PA, northern NJ, SE NY (and not just nyc), connecticut, rhode island, and southern mass (probably including boston as well).

MIDDLETOWN, Conn., Feb. 7, 2010
Gas Explosion, Fire Reported in Conn.
Reports Suggest Many Injuries, Possible Deaths at Industrial Facility
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/02/07/national/main6183458.shtml
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Bordo, amd, could I (safely) get out of this going south on 95 (or alternate routes, even 1, I don't care)?

Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
Quoting all4hurricanes:
Fairfax County Public Schools are closed Tomorrow probably Tuesday too.


Montgomery Co. public schools closed Monday & Tuesday.

Howard Co. public schools closed Monday for sure.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
433. amd
Quoting Bordonaro:
A peek at what is expected for this WE 2/10/10 along the Eastern Seaboard off the Mid-Atlantic



another major snowstorm expected from dc to Philadelphia, but this time, the heavy snow expands to NE PA, northern NJ, SE NY (and not just nyc), connecticut, rhode island, and southern mass (probably including boston as well).

Will probably be the heaviest snowfall from northwest nj to southern mass for the entire season so far (excluding long island).

In fact, the GFS/GFS ensambles/and GGEM have been very consistent in printing out another 12 to 18 inches of snow for the entire Philadelphia region.
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Equal Opportunity Provider: Available for everyone and anyone. Disclaimer: I am not a shill for this company. I receive no gains or financial support from this company. I just like the label.



The BEST bee sting ointment: Adolphs Liquid Meat Tenderizer (if you can find it) A little dab, and the sting is GONE. And no, I don't know none of them folks over theyuh :)
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Fairfax County Public Schools are closed Tomorrow probably Tuesday too.
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A peek at what is expected for this WE 2/10/10 along the Eastern Seaboard off the Mid-Atlantic

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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:
There goes the sea ice ...
Cpt Kirk, we just lost our deflector shield - the enterprise is now left vulnerable.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032

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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.