Great earthquake rocks Chile; NYC gets 4th greatest snow ever; Xynthia batters Europe

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:26 PM GMT on February 27, 2010

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A great earthquake with magnitude 8.8 rocked the coast of Chile at 6:34 GMT this morning, generating a potentially dangerous tsunami that is racing across the Pacific Ocean. The great quake is the 7th most powerful tremor in world history (Figure 1). Preliminary tsunami wave heights for the California coast near Santa Barbara are 2 - 2.5 feet. The wave is expected to arrive between 12:15 - 12:35 pm PST. The tsunami is expected to arrive in Hawaii between 11:05 - 11:42am HST, with a wave 8.2 feet high expected in Hilo, on the Big Island. A tsunami from the 9.5 Magnitude 1960 earthquake in Chile killed 61 people in Hilo. Today's quake was so strong, that it triggered a seiche in Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, over 4,500 miles (7,000 km) away. The lake sloshed back and forth, creating a wave 0.4 - 0.51 feet on either side of the lake.


Figure 1. Wikipedia's list of strongest earthquakes of all-time.

Preliminary tsunami amplitude forecasts:

La Jolla, CA 2.3 ft
Los Angeles, CA 2.0 ft
Malibu, CA 2.6 ft
Pt. San Luis, CA 2.3 ft
Half Moon Bay, CA 2.6 ft
Crescent City, CA 1.7 ft
Morro Bay, CA 2.2 ft
Santa Monica, CA 3.3 ft
San Francisco, CA 0.7 ft
Pismo Beach, CA 4.6 ft

Hilo, HI 8.2 feet 11:5am HST
Honolulu, HI 1.6 ft 11:37am HST
Kahului, HI 7.2 ft 11:26am HST
Nawiliwili, HI 3.0 ft 11:42am HST
Haleiwa 1.6 ft
Kawaihae 2.0 ft

Port Orford, OR 0.7 ft

Moclip, WA 1.3 ft

Seward, AK 1.3 ft
Stika, AK 1.3 ft
Kodiak, AK 2.3 ft

Tofino, British Columbia 1.7 ft

Today's great quake occurred at the boundary between the Nazca and South American plates about 325 km southwest of the capital Santiago (population 5.3 million). The depth was estimated at 35 km. At least four aftershocks of magnitude 6 or higher have occurred, the largest being a 6.9 aftershock. Fortunately, the area close to the epicenter is relatively sparsely populated, but there may be heavy damage in Concepción (est. pop. 300,000) and Chillan (est. pop. 170,000), which lie 115 km and 100 km to the south of the epicenter, respectively.


Figure 2. NOAA's preliminary forecast of tsunami wave energy for today's earthquake. Image credit: NOAA Tsunami Warning Center.

New York City slammed with its 4th largest snowstorm on record
The snow from the fourth extreme snowstorm to wallop the Northeast U.S. this winter dumped a remarkable 20.9" of snow on New York City's Central Park yesterday and Thursday. This is the 4th largest snowstorm for the city in recorded history. According to the National Weather Service, the top ten snowstorms on record for New York City's Central Park are:

26.9" Feb 11-12, 2006
26.4" Dec 26-27, 1947
21.0" Mar 12-14, 1888
20.9" Feb 25-26, 2010
20.2" Jan 7-8, 1996
19.8" Feb 16-17, 2003
18.1" Mar 7-8, 1941
17.7" Feb 5-7, 1978
17.6" Feb 11-12, 1983
17.5" Feb 4-7, 1920

The storm also helped New York City set a new all-time snowfall record for the most snow ever recorded in a month--36.9". The old record was 30.5", set in March 1896. However, the old Lower Manhattan WB Station recorded 37.9" in February 1894. Yesterday's snowstorm puts New York City's snow for the 2009 - 2010 season at 51.4", making it the 11th snowiest winter since 1869. Chris Burt, author of Extreme Weather, lists the city's all-time seasonal snowfall record at 81.5", set in the winter of 1867 - 1868. This measurement came before official records began in Central Park, and were done be the NY Park Commissioners (see "Annual Report NY Park Commissioners", 1868, by John B. Marie). The second snowiest winter in NYC occurred during the winter of 1995 - 1996, when 75.6" fell.

Destructive Winter Storm Xynthia battering Portugal and Spain
A powerful 969 mb low pressure system named "Xynthia" is rapidly intensifying of the coast of Spain, and stands poised to deliver a devastating blow to Portugal, Spain, and France today and tomorrow as it powers through Europe. Sustained winds of 60 mph (96 km/hr) were reported today at a Personal Weather Station in Costa del Morte, Spain. The pressure fell to 969 mb as Xynthia passed overhead. For comparison, Winter Storm Klaus had a minimum pressure of 967 mb. Klaus, which hit northern Spain and southwest France January 23 - 25, was Earth's most costly natural disaster of 2009, causing $5.1 billion in damage and killing 26. Models predict that Xynthia will continue to intensify today, reaching 962 mb as it moves into the west coast of France Sunday morning. Sustained winds of 50 - 65 mph (80 - 105 km/hr) with hurricane-force gusts up to 100 mph (160 km/hr) are possible along the north coast of Spain tonight and the west coast of France on Sunday as Xynthia barrels through. The storm is also bringing an exceptionally moist plume of tropical moisture ashore, as seen in precipitable water imagery from NOAA (Figure 4). This moisture is likely to cause moderate to severe flooding in portions of Europe over the weekend.


Figure 3. Visible satellite image at 12 GMT of Xynthia.


Figure 4. Satellite measurements show a region of extremely high atmospheric moisture is associated with Winter Storm Xynthia. This moisture will surge over Portugal and Spain today, potentially creating serious flooding. Image credit: Sheldon Kusselson, NOAA/NESDIS.

Links to follow:
Wundermap for Northwest Spain
Spanish radar
Meteo-France
Portugese radar

Jeff Masters

Central Park 26Feb10 (MickyDee)
the BIG one Taken in Manhattan
Central Park 26Feb10
Tree 1, House 0 (Backbaybob)
This cottage was no match for 65 mph wind and an old pine tree.
Tree 1, House 0

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Night all. Stay safe
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WAY to Go Portlight!!! Saw ya on E! So excited this amazing organization started by wonderful WUers finally got some national press! So excited to see how this helps you grow!
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LOL, finally Joe B and his crew get their comeuppance...from the NWS.


The newspaper called the brouhaha a "meteorologist smackdown."



A "Perfect" call if ever there was one.
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Snowpocalypse to snowicane: Hype reigns in winter



STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The snowmenclature smackdown among meteorologists started with "snowmageddon" and "snowpocalypse." When the latest snow event — laden with flakes and whipped by heavy winds — headed for the storm-weary Northeast this week, the folks at AccuWeather Inc. warned of a coming "snowicane."

That did it for the more reserved National Weather Service, which accused the for-profit forecasters of overhyping to the point of inciting panic. The Weather Channel, an AccuWeather competitor, also took issue with the word.

As "snowicane" foreshadowed impending wind-and-snow doom Wednesday on AccuWeather's Web site, National Weather Service meteorologist Craig Evanego said the federal forecasters were taking a more measured approach, because the storm hadn't yet fully formed.

"It's almost inciting the public, inciting panic," Evanego said of AccuWeather's terminology.

His weather service colleague, meteorologist Roy Miller in Mount Holly, N.J., put it bluntly to The Morning Call newspaper in Allentown, Pa.

"It's not responsible to be putting out things like this," he said.

The newspaper called the brouhaha a "meteorologist smackdown."

Richard Grumm, the government service's chief science and operations officer in State College, said science and "getting people's attention and entertainment" each serve a purpose.

"Scientifically, I have my own opinion of what a hurricane is," he added. "The word, 'snowicane' — I have a glossary of meteorology, it doesn't exist."

A key meteorological measure of a hurricane is sustained winds of at least 74 mph. As this week's storm barreled into New England, it slung wind gusts into that range and higher — but those winds were not sustained. It therefore failed to achieve hurricane status.

It did, however, dump even more snow on a region digging out from the deepest cumulative snows ever recorded for a winter season and knocked out power to more than 1 million homes and businesses. The number of outages was cut nearly in half by midday Saturday.

Evan Myers, chief operations officer of AccuWeather, defended the choice of words but said his firm wasn't trying to panic anyone.

"I guess you can say that we stuck our necks out on this storm. ... Some people thought we were crazy, we were nuts, talking about the storm from this perspective," Myers said Friday from the floor of AccuWeather's high-tech operations center in State College.

"The storm performed as advertised," Myers said, noting, among other things, the coastal flooding from Maine to eastern Long Island and heavy snows in some areas.

AccuWeather's Web site on Saturday took up the "snowicane" defense: "Our concern was that the storm might be taken too lightly by the public if we stuck to the norm of calling the system a nor'easter, snowstorm, or even a blizzard."

It cited wind gusts of 90-plus mph off the New England coast.

By another measure, barometric pressure, the storm lived up to its billing, AccuWeather said. The storm's central pressure was as low as a category 2 hurricane, the Web site reported.

"We said it would have the characteristics of a (hurricane or tropical system), and in fact, it did," Myers said.

Fred Carr, director of the University of Oklahoma School of Meteorology, hadn't been following the AccuWeather forecasts, but briefly reviewed one from early Thursday. AccuWeather's forecasts were consistent with the government's forecast models, he said. The difference was with the words used, not the forecast itself, he said.

"I'm sure no one seriously, even AccuWeather, (could) have seriously meant it to be like a hurricane," Carr said. "I think it was just a catchy term that would give them more publicity ... of course, now I'm playing psychologist."

Though it didn't specifically name AccuWeather, The Weather Channel joined the fray. On its Web site, weather.com, it called invocation of the H-word an example of "bad meteorology."

"It's not an apt analogy to compare this winter storm, which is really all about cold air and jet stream, with a hurricane, which is all about heat and ... things of tropical origin," said Bruce Rose, vice president and principal scientist at The Weather Channel.

Using a baseball analogy, Rose acknowledged the competitiveness among the meteorologists.

"When a guy gets a base hit, he's kidding around with the other team's first baseman," he said. "But they are still trying to beat each other's brains out when it comes to the final score.
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WAVCIS by LSU
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128632
Xynthia visible loop before sunset (link). A lot of damage is reported from western Germany, highways closed and so on. Highest gust so far: 167 km/h. Greetings to all, Barbara
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Quoting TampaSpin:


I was scorned very harshly for your same thoughts.......watch your back my friend as the attacks waves will start on you. Check out some blogs and read what some have printed about me. ITS SOME REALLY GOOD STUFF! Its ok i really don't care and have my heart in the right spot as do you!


LoL, If one of the Canadian fans at today's hockey game with a Canadian shirt on cheers the Americans, they might be tossed on the ice.

Ever been to a Philadelphia Eagles football game at their home field? That is no mans land if you cheer for he opponent. One visit there was enough for me to go through a box of band-aids and 20 lbs of ice when I got home. It sure was not Steeler's country.. The good thing is, we do have a choice :)
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128632
Looks like NOAA has done some rearranging on their site and has messed some links up that i have up on my site....that will take some fixing to do.
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Quoting Ossqss:
699, you can move one of those for I was a bit confused with how the question was presented and voted wrong (perhaps too quick to click). I believe you should cheer for your country in the Olympics unless you have a good reason to cheer against them. Like your Dad is on the other team! :)

Why would anyone cheer against their own country otherwise? That does not make sense....

Just my take >>>>>


I was scorned very harshly for your same thoughts.......watch your back my friend as the attacks waves will start on you. Check out some blogs and read what some have printed about me. ITS SOME REALLY GOOD STUFF! Its ok i really don't care and have my heart in the right spot as do you!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
Quoting msgambler:
Aussie, Aquak9, TampaSpin, Hope ya'll have a great day. Must get out and get things done. Will be keeping the people in Chile and Europe in my thoughts and prayers. Hope Mother Nature decides to take a break soon. And REAL soon.


Ahmen!!!!
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704. Skyepony (Mod)
Xynthia
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Aussie, Aquak9, TampaSpin, Hope ya'll have a great day. Must get out and get things done. Will be keeping the people in Chile and Europe in my thoughts and prayers. Hope Mother Nature decides to take a break soon. And REAL soon.
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699, you can move one of those for I was a bit confused with how the question was presented and voted wrong (perhaps too quick to click). I believe you should cheer for your country in the Olympics unless you have a good reason to cheer against them. Like your Dad is on the other team! :)

Why would anyone cheer against their own country otherwise? That does not make sense....

Just my take >>>>>
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Aussie- mmm...I guess what I got, was a re-run. Not live when I went to the link.

I probably didn't do it right. still the video was disturbing...reminded me of Waveland, and other areas, post Katrina. Only maybe, a little worse.
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Quoting aquak9:
695

aussie, that's heartbreaking...the ominous background music doesn't help one bit. :(

What background music, It's live news channel from Chile
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I hope 2010 gets better soon. It could start with a victory today for the USA hockey team. GO USA! Guess i am out numbered on this blog!

Is it UN-American to yell AGAINST the USA Hockey Team If you live in the United States and considered an American Citizen!!

*It Is UN-American to yell Against the USA Team

*It is American to yell Against the USA Team

Vote
View Results
Share ThisPolldaddy.com


It Is UN-American to yell Against the USA Team 21% (3 votes)

It is American to yell Against the USA Team 79% (11 votes)

Total Votes: 14


Not really shocked with these numbers on this Blog!
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695

aussie, that's heartbreaking...the ominous background music doesn't help one bit. :(
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697. xcool
Jim Cantor scared guy
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Netherlands Radar WOW
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Chile TV

They showed the devastation at the Fernandez Island group.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

HAHAHA. my streaming cam has gone viral too, 2305 views.


I guess with all the recent press footage the Doc has garnered that has mentioned the blog...

...the blog is now viral.
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The only good thing about this Winter storm Xynthia, is its speed. It has almost cleared the east coast of the UK, therefore the amount of rain it dropped has added to the already flooded land, but not so excessive that it will cause major damage. Unlike poor France and Spain.
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Quoting CycloneOz:
Apparently, Part 2 of the Hurricane Dolly raw footage has gone viral.

The number of views jumped from 42 to 128 in a single minute.

I've always wanted to have a viral video! :)

HAHAHA. my streaming cam has gone viral too, 2305 views.
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Apparently, Part 2 of the Hurricane Dolly raw footage has gone viral.

The number of views jumped from 42 to 128 in a single minute.

I've always wanted to have a viral video! :)
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Fish fall out of the rain-filled sky in Northern Territory town of Lajamanu



* By Daniel Bourchier
* From: Northern Territory News
* March 01, 2010 12:00AM


THE Top End and Central Australia have been battered by torrential rains, and in one town there have been fish falling from the sky.

The freak phenomena happened not once, but twice, last Thursday and Friday afternoon about 6pm at Lajamanu, about 550km southwest of Katherine in the Northern Territory.

Christine Balmer, who took these photos of the fish on the ground and in a bucket, had to pinch herself when she was told "hundreds and hundreds" of small white fish had fallen from the sky.

"It rained fish in Lajamanu on Thursday and Friday night," she said, "They fell from the sky everywhere.

"Locals were picking them up off the footy oval and on the ground everywhere.

"These fish were alive when they hit the ground."

Mrs Balmer, the aged care co-ordinator at the Lajamanu Aged Care Centre, said her family interstate thought she had lost the plot when she told them about the event.

Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

"I haven't lost my marbles," she said, reassuring herself. "Thank god it didn't rain crocodiles."

Lajamanu sits on the edge of the Tanami Desert, hundreds of kilometres from Lake Argyle and Lake Elliott and even further from the coast. But it's not the first time the remote community has been bombarded by fins from above.

In 2004, locals reported fish falling from the sky, and in 1974, a similar incident captured international headlines.

The small white fish are believed to be spangled perch, which are very common through much of northern Australia.

Weather bureau senior forecaster Ashley Patterson said the geological conditions were perfect on Friday for a tornado in the Douglas Daly region.

He said it would have been an ideal weather situation to allow the phenomena to occur - but no tornados have been reported to the authority.

"It's a very unusual event," he said. "With an updraft, (fish and water picked up) could get up high - up to 60,000 or 70,000 feet.

"Or possibly from a tornado over a large water body - but we haven't had any reports," he said.
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I love that still shot YouTube offered me for Part 2 of my Hurricane Dolly raw footage.

That guy ate that palm tree!

And look how he's standing at it! LOL!!!!
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More snow today for my neck of the woods. 3-6 inches...

El Nino
Bad babino
Will you please go to sleep?

El Nino
No suave, hito
Your snow is too deep.
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Quoting leftovers:
the worlds best surfers are on the gold coast australia to kick off their worldwide tour yesterday competition was postponed because of the tidal wave but is suppose to resume wed. with more favorable conditions last yr the aussies were 1-2 i pretty expect the same this yr

I do too, Go AUSSIES
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Quoting StormW:




That looks more like the whippin stick the wife uses on me sometimes!
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Quoting StormW:




Shoot! That's an Army Corps of Engineers structure! I thought it could be something you dip into the surf, like your toe! :)
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Quoting CycloneOz:


You guys are in a winter hurricane! 969 mb!!!

Powerful stuff. Stay safe!


Thanks! Fortunately it's Sunday. People can stay inside.
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Quoting barbamz:
Well CycloneOz, our Xynthia cannot be compared with a Cat 3 ore more, but the lady is quite a heavy stuff for Europe. Sirens of emergency cars non stop in our town. Here is the map with the gusts of the last our (I live near the 162 km/h, but a bit more protected in town).


162km/h. I no what that feels like. I went that fast in my car once then stupidly put my hand out the window. almost wrenched it off.
Stay safe mate!
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Quoting barbamz:
Well CycloneOz, our Xynthia cannot be compared with a Cat 3 ore more, but the lady is quite a heavy stuff for Europe. Sirens of emergency cars non stop in our town. Here is the map with the gusts of the last our (I live near the 162 km/h, but a bit more protected in town).



You guys are in a winter hurricane! 969 mb!!!

Powerful stuff. Stay safe!
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Quoting CycloneOz:


I'll have to research those. Never heard of them. Maybe ebay.... ;) LOL!

lol
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Well CycloneOz, our Xynthia cannot be compared with a Cat 3 ore more, but the lady is quite a heavy stuff for Europe. Sirens of emergency cars non stop in our town. Here is the map with the gusts of the last our (I live near the 162 km/h, but a bit more protected in town).

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Quoting StormW:


Good morning.


Good Morning, Chief. :) I'm going to go make us a cup of coffee.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

they used tidal gauges to measure.


I'll have to research those. Never heard of them. Maybe ebay.... ;) LOL!
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Quoting barbamz:
Toll rate raises because of Xynthia (report reuters)

Europe lashed by deadly storm
Posted 1 hour 39 minutes ago

Hurricane-force winds, surging seas and driving rain have lashed western Europe, leaving at least 13 people dead and more than a million households without power.


Falling trees...that's my 2nd biggest fear when I go out into hurricanes. In my Hurricane Ida video, I actually mention it to Doug a couple of times. There were some 50 foot pine trees that would act like a fly swatter had they snapped over us.

When I'm out in a hurricane, I do my best to stay away from them.
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Quoting StormW:


Is the Pope Catholic? (j/k) :)
LOL Good Morning Storm what a statement on Sunday morning. He was when I went to church last night anyway....lol
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Quoting CycloneOz:


So Sydney's coast had to have perfectly flat conditions to measure 4 inches, huh?

Interesting...I guess it's all about timing and they knew when it was coming ashore. So even if you had 2 foot swells, you could still catch the 4 inch jobber crashing ashore...?

they used tidal gauges to measure.
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Aussie, yesteday someone was speaking of the fact that in times that there were large earthquakes seemed to bring more hurricans. Someone was going to look up some data on the subject but can't remember who. Do you know if it was ever discussed any further? I don't think one has to do with the other but would like to know what others think.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Almost 4inches


So Sydney's coast had to have perfectly flat conditions to measure 4 inches, huh?

Interesting...I guess it's all about timing and they knew when it was coming ashore. So even if you had 2 foot swells, you could still catch the 4 inch jobber crashing ashore...?
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Portugal RADAR image.
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crud...ya'll be REAL careful googling anything "tsunami" related...a lot of it is full of malware.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 166 Comments: 26045

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.