An upside-down winter: coldest in 25 years in U.S., warmest on record in Canada

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:26 PM GMT on March 12, 2010

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The U.S. just experienced its coldest winter in 25 years, according to the National Climatic Data Center. The winter period December - February was the 18th coldest winter in the contiguous U.S. over the past 115 years, and the coldest since 1984 - 1985. It was also a wet winter, ranking 19th wettest. The states experiencing the coldest winters, relative to average, were Texas and Louisiana, which had their 5th coldest winters on record. Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Florida, and South Carolina also had a top-ten coldest winter. The only state much above average was Maine, which had its 3rd warmest winter. As I discussed earlier this week, this winter's cold weather over the U.S. is largely due to the Arctic Oscillation/North Atlantic Oscillation, which assumed its most extreme negative configuration since record keeping began in 1950. El Niño helped keep things cool from Texas to the Southeastern U.S., as well.


Figure 1. Winter temperatures for the winter of 2009 - 2010. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.

A cold February in the U.S.
February temperatures were 2.2°F below average across the contiguous U.S., making it the 29th coldest February in the 115-year record. For the second month in a row, Florida was the coldest state, relative to average. Florida had its 4th coldest February on record. Seven other states had February temperatures between 5th and 8th coldest on record: Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, and South Carolina. Maine had its 3rd warmest February, New Hampshire its 5th, and Washington its 6th. Precipitation across the U.S. was near average in February.

Warmest and driest winter on record in Canada
Canada had its warmest winter on record, 4.0°C (7.2°F) above average, according to Environment Canada. The previous record was 3.9°C above average, set in 2005-2006. Canada also experienced its driest winter on record this year, with precipitation 22.0% below normal. The previous driest winter was 1977-1978 (20.1% below normal). Canadian weather records go back 63 years, to 1948. David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, warned of potential "horrific" water shortages, insect infestations, and wildfires this summer due to the warm, dry winter. Phillips blamed the warm winter weather on El Niño and the severe loss of arctic sea ice last fall. The winter season in Canada has warmed, on average, by 2.5°C (4.5°F) over the past 63 years.


Figure 2. Departure of temperature from average in Canada for the winter of 2009 - 2010. Image credit: Environment Canada.

Brazilian tropical/subtropical storm named "Anita"
The South Atlantic tropical/subtropical storm we've been tracking this week has moved over colder waters and has now transitioned to a regular extratropical storm. Earlier this week, the storm became just the 7th tropical or subtropical cyclone on record in the South Atlantic. According to a statement put out by MetSul Meteorologia, a Brazilian weather company, this storm is now named "Tropical Storm Anita:"

The regional weather centers and the private weather enterprises of both Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, southernmost Brazilian states, in a joint decision, named Anita the rare tropical storm of March 9th and 10th in the coastal areas of the region. The name was chosen considering a historic figure of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, both states affected by the tropical cyclone. Anita Garibaldi (1821-1849) was a heroine of the Farroupilha Revolution (1835-1845), one of the most important events in the Brazilian history that took place in the Southern part of the country. Anita was used in the past to designate tropical cyclones in other basins: North Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

Next week, we need to keep an eye on northeastern Australia, where Tropical Cyclone 20 may pay a visit. The storm is under light shear and warm waters, and is forecast to increase to Category 4 strength by Monday. Also of concern is Tropical Cyclone 19, which is expected to hit Fiji as a Category 2 storm early next week.

First tornado death of the year for the U.S
A tornado that hit Cleburne, Arkansas on Wednesday caused three serious injuries and the tornado season's first fatality, a 79-year old man sheltering in his single story wood-frame home. Yesterday, a suspected tornado ripped through Haines City, Florida destroying four condos and damaging fifteen others. One person was injured. Two other tornadoes caused minor damage in central Florida. The severe weather outbreak continues today, as NOAA's Storm Prediction Center is forecasting a "slight" chance of severe weather over portions of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. After today, the severe weather action should diminish for at least five days over the U.S. The major U.S. weather story this weekend will be flooding in the Mid-Atlantic, where heavy rains of up to four inches are expected. Soils are already saturated and the heavy snows from this winter's major snowstorms will also melt, likely creating moderate flooding problems over much of the Mid-Atlantic.

Links to follow:
Interactive tornado map
Severe weather page


Figure 3. Severe weather forecast for today from the NOAA Storm Prediction Center.

Jeff Masters

Tornado, Saline County, AR (waltdsgirl)
Tornado, Saline County, AR
deluge of rain... (happytobealive)
We drove west on I-10 today and this is what we encountered near Live Oak, Florida. We pulled to the side of the road for a time because the rain was more than the wipers could clear for safe driving.
deluge of rain...
wind damage (Openmike)
Wind tore the awning from a business on U.S. 19 between Crystal River and Homassaa Springs, Fl., Thursday afternoon. Severe stroms hammered the area, causing wind damage and flooding. A tornado was reported, by a trained spotter, about ten miles South of this location. Check the series for more storm and flood pictures.
wind damage

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Quoting AussieStorm:

Morning,
Yeah, what did you do to Miss Mother Nature????

Here ya go, Has mother nature ever been this mad with all these different events all at the same time? Interesting
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Why you always blamin' me? I'd give her a backrub if I knew it would help. I live on the Alabama Coast and I don't have a good feeling about this season
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Good morning Msgambler

We are having some kind of Beautiful
Weather here in Metairie LA, how about were you are?

Taco :0)
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Quoting taco2me61:
Good Morning All
&
Good Evening Aussie






Taco :0)

Mornin'
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Morning Wunderkid, Stormchaser, taco, and all
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Quoting msgambler:
Evening/Morning Aussie.... Looks like thing are starting to show sighns of a very interesting season this year. I don't remember seeing this much activity, ie:earthquakes,cyclones,March tornadoes, in a very long time. Mother Nature sounds angry

Morning,
Yeah, what did you do to Miss Mother Nature????
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Evening/Morning Aussie.... Looks like thing are starting to show sighns of a very interesting season this year. I don't remember seeing this much activity, ie:earthquakes,cyclones,March tornadoes, in a very long time. Mother Nature sounds angry
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Good Morning All
&
Good Evening Aussie






Taco :0)
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Quoting AussieStorm:

It's almost 1am Monday morning here, Just watching some soccer and having a cuppa tea.
How are you going? Where about are you from?

I am doing fine and drinking a cup a java. Its 10:00 am here. I'm in Zephyrhills Florida. Its in west central fl.40 miles ne of Tampa.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
EWRC?





By the looks of it, i would say yes, give it maybe a few more hours and we shall see.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Good morning. Are you getting prepared for the 2010 season ?


ME I'M ALLWAY PREPARED
CAN'T WAIT FOR OUR FIRST TROPICAL WAVE BY THE WAY WHEN WILL WE LIKELY GET OUR FIRST WAVE
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Very ragged now.

RAW T down to 4.8

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776
Quoting severstorm:

I,m on the same thinking as you. How are you, lets see its your evening.

It's almost 1am Monday morning here, Just watching some soccer and having a cuppa tea.
How are you going? Where about are you from?
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
EWRC?

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776




















Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting severstorm:


I,m on the same thinking as you. How are you, lets see its your evening.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Yet

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An ap-PAUL-ling lack of cyclones
Sam Terry, Friday March 12, 2010

Tropical cyclones seem to have been giving Australia a wide berth of late, with none appearing since late January. But before the season ends, Australia could see just one more sneak in.

On average 13 cyclones develop in Australian waters each year. Over the 2008-09 season seven cyclones formed. In contrast this season we've only had four: Laurence, Magda, Neville and Olga.

Over the last week or so the monsoon system that usually sits over northern Australia at this time of year (often helping to generate cyclones) has faded out.

However, a monsoon trough has been sitting to the northeast over Vanuata and the Solomon Islands, funnelling in tropical moisture over far northern QLD, leading to showers and thunderstorms.

Just lately, computer model forecasts have been indicating that a low will intensify in this region and perhaps head into the Coral Sea by Tuesday the 16th of March. This cyclone, if it ever happens, will be called Tropical Cyclone Paul.

- Weatherzone
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Tropical Cyclone Ului on the horizon
Tim Shu, Sunday March 14, 2010

Tropical Cyclone Ului is currently hanging off the coast of New Guinea, tracking slowly towards the QLD coast. Ului looks to be the last Cyclone of the season, and it could potentially be a big one.

Cyclones once formed, will increase in strength as long as they are over warm waters. If you remember back two months, Ex-TC Olga made its way across the QLD peninsula into the Gulf of Carpentaria where abnormally high sea surface temperatures at the time allowed her to re-intensify.

Currently, Cyclone Ului is sitting on a region in the Pacific Ocean, and should it decide to make landfall on the QLD coast, it has the potential to reach Category five. But the movement of Cyclones is very difficult to predict, currently our computer models indicate that it will infact come close to the QLD coast and then swing off in the direction of New Zealand.

- Weatherzone
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting severstorm:
Good Morning, 6.6 earthquake in Japan last night. No reports of damage.

Yet
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting JRRP:


Fiji, Solomon Islands brace for cyclones
Pacific correspondent Campbell Cooney, Sunday March 14, 2010

Fiji and the Solomon Islands are bracing for gale-force winds, heavy rain and storm surges as tropical cyclones bear down on both countries.

Tropical Cyclone Tomas is expected to make landfall in northern Fiji tomorrow morning and disaster management officials there have spent the past few days preparing.

In the Solomon Islands, Tropical Cyclone Ului is expected over the islands of Rennell and Bellona tonight.

Solomons Disaster Management Office spokesman Julian Makaa says the 5,000 people who live on those islands are expecting the worst.

"We've just been advising people to be prepared and sort themselves out," he said.

"We have been advising people to stock things up, prepare for the impact. That means saving water, food, basic medicines."

Ului is generating winds of more than 200 kilometres per hour.

Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Brett Harrison says Ului was upgraded overnight from a category three to a category five storm.

"It does mean that wind speeds are significantly increased, so any areas that will be in the path of the cyclone will receive significant damage," he said.

"At this stage it's moving towards the south of the Solomon Islands."

- ABC
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Good Morning, 6.6 earthquake in Japan last night. No reports of damage.
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Quoting JRRP:

Looks like a Fujiwhare effect.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 4898
Good morning!
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 4898
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
GOOD MORNING ANYONE HERE


I think many didnt move their clocks ahead one hour last night.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
GOOD MORNING ANYONE HERE
Good morning. Are you getting prepared for the 2010 season ?
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GOOD MORNING ANYONE HERE
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Yep,...that sure looks like a "pin-hole" eye to me :-)) I took a stab at graphically measureing it,...15-17 miles in diameter,...anyone know what it actually is. Sure is a pretty storm.
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Good Evening Everyone,
just checking in and see whats going on....
The Weather here in Metairie LA has been Beautiful and can't wait for tomorrow's St Patty Day Parade....

Taco :0)
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409. JRRP
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5331
Based on IR imagery it is clear that Ului's core is no longer perfectly symetric, but is rather heavily weighted towards the west side of the eye. Ului is not as strong as she was 6 hours ago, and I think this is due to her outflow now being less than perfect. After exploding today, Ului's outflow has expanded rapidly in all directions, without hindrance, but now her equatorial outflow channel to the northeast has encountered a problem. It is being interfered with by Tomas's equatorward outflow, resulting in a noticable disturbance in the otherwise perfect upper-level structure of Ului. There are also a couple of weak upper lows between the two cyclones, which are contributing to disrupting Ului's outflow channel. This problem may lessen as Ului and Tomas move farther away from each other over the next couple days.



Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547

140300Z POSITION NEAR 12.7S 161.4E.
TROPICAL CYCLONE (TC) 20P (ULUI), LOCATED APPROXIMATELY 310 NM WEST-
NORTHWEST OF VANUATU, HAS TRACKED WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT 08 KTS OVER
THE PAST SIX HOURS. DVORAK INTENSITY ESTIMATES FROM PGTW, ABRF, AND
KNES INDICATE TC 20P CONTINUES TO INTENSIFY AT A HIGHER THAN NORMAL
RATE. THE CURRENT POSITION IS BASED ON ANIMATED MULTISPECTRAL IMAGERY
SHOWING A WELL-DEFINED 10-NM DIAMETER EYE. UPPER LEVEL ANALYSIS
INDICATES THAT THE SYSTEM HAS DEVELOPED A MESOSCALE ANTICYCLONE ALOFT
THAT IS ENHANCING EXCELLENT RADIAL OUTFLOW. TC 20P IS EXPECTED TO
INTENSIFY FURTHER AS IT TRACKS ALONG THE NORTHERN PERIPHERY OF THE
STEERING RIDGE TO THE SOUTH, ALBEIT AT A SLOWER RATE OVER THE NEXT 48
HOURS AS IT CONTINUES TO ENJOY LOW VERTICAL WIND SHEAR AND HIGH SEA
SURFACE TEMPERATURES. BY TAU 72 AN APPROACHING MID-LATITUDE TROUGH
WILL BEGIN TO HINDER THE POLEWARD OUTFLOW CHANNEL, CAUSING THE SLIGHT
WEAKENING TREND IN THE FORECAST.
THIS TROUGH WILL CAUSE A WEAKNESS IN THE RIDGE LEADING TO A WEAK
STEERING ENVIRONMENT BEYOND TAU 72. TC ULUI IS THEN EXPECTED TO
SLOWLY DRIFT TO THE SOUTH AS A NEAR EQUATORIAL RIDGE TO THE NORTHEAST
BUILDS AND STEERS THE SYSTEM POLEWARD. MAXIMUM SIGNIFICANT WAVE
HEIGHT AT 140000Z IS 30 FEET. NEXT WARNINGS AT 141500Z AND 150300Z.
REFER TO TROPICAL CYCLONE 19P (TOMAS) WARNINGS (WTPS32 PGTW)
FOR TWELVE-HOURLY UPDATES.//
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
I think Laurence was only a cat 5 on the Australian scale still an impressive storm but I don't think it would have been considered a cat 5 if it were in the Atlantic.
Ului is magnificent, we should be paying attention to Thomas though that's the one that will hit Fiji in a day
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2346
Quoting Hurricanes101:


Have we determined the gender of Ului yet? lol


Lol....logically it's a she since Tomas is male and genders are supposed to alternate with every name down the list.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
Quoting Levi32:


She doesn't look as good as she did 4-6 hours ago. That's probably mostly due to the diurnal minimum coming up in a few hours.


Have we determined the gender of Ului yet? lol
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7361
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
What a storm.



She doesn't look as good as she did 4-6 hours ago. That's probably mostly due to the diurnal minimum coming up in a few hours.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
ah ok thanks
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7361
401. AussieStorm
4:09 AM GMT on March 14, 2010
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
hey aussie how ya doing
how ya make out with computer
i was told ya lost
all your links and stuff
if ya like i can make up a list for ya and email it to ya

I've actually been able to recover most of my links and other stuff, You can send me an email with your links, I don't know if I have got them all.
Cheers
Aussie
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
400. Stormchaser2007
4:08 AM GMT on March 14, 2010
edit.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776
399. AussieStorm
4:08 AM GMT on March 14, 2010
Quoting Hurricanes101:


Where was Laurence?

On 8 December, TCWC Darwin reported that a tropical low pressure system had formed near the south coast of Papua New Guinea. As the system moved west north of the Top End on 10 December, TCWC Darwin issued a Tropical Cyclone Watch for coastal areas from Croker Island to Bathurst Island but excluding Darwin . Later that day, TCWC Perth cancelled all previous warnings and issued new watches for Kalumburu, south to Wyndham and west to Mitchell Plateau. The system hovered in the same general region for a day, before strengthening into to an category one cyclone, and was named by the TCWC Darwin as Tropical Cyclone Laurence. During the morning of 15 December, the cyclone strengthened into a category 2 cyclone before strengthening further into a category 3 system. In the early hours of 16 December, Severe Tropical Cyclone Laurence was upgraded to a strong category 4 with an eye starting to develop; later developing into a category 5 system. The cyclone crossed the Kimberley coast southeast of Cockatoo Island on 16 December and passed near Derby. On 17 December the cyclone weakened as it meandered over land dumping heavy rain over northern Kimberley. The cyclone's track during the day veered south-west and re-intensification was likely by 18 December as it moved over warm waters. As predicted, Laurence restrengthened into a tropical cyclone after emerging over the open water. Later on 19 December, Laurence intensified further into a category 2 cyclone. On 20 December, Laurence intensified into a category 3 cyclone, and while continuing to turn to the south, it intensified to a category 4 cyclone on the morning of 21 December. Later that morning, Laurence further intensified into a category 5 cyclone, with Red Alerts issued for towns from Pardoo to Sandfire, and inland to Yarrie being advised to seek shelter immediately. Later that afternoon, Laurence made landfall as a severe category 5 cyclone, and was downgraded to a category 4 cyclone as it made landfall. Reports of livestock, flash flooding and several homes have been badly damaged by Laurence, however, no loss of life has been reported. On 22 December, Laurence was downgraded to a category 2 cyclone, further downgraded to a category 1 cyclone later that day. On 23 December, Laurence was downgraded to a tropical low, as it continued to travel south. The cyclone's maximum wind gusts were reported to be 285km/h.

Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
398. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:01 AM GMT on March 14, 2010
hey aussie how ya doing
how ya make out with computer
i was told ya lost
all your links and stuff
if ya like i can make up a list for ya and email it to ya
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
397. Hurricanes101
4:00 AM GMT on March 14, 2010
Quoting AussieStorm:

Don't forget Laurence reached Cat 5 twice even coming back from being a TD.


Where was Laurence?
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7361
396. Stormchaser2007
3:59 AM GMT on March 14, 2010
What a storm.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776
394. AussieStorm
3:47 AM GMT on March 14, 2010
Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
3rd Category 5 in the southern hemisphere. One in each region (southwest Indian, Australian region, Southern Pacific)

Don't forget Laurence reached Cat 5 twice even coming back from being a TD.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
393. Ameister12
3:42 AM GMT on March 14, 2010
Quoting all4hurricanes:

I think Edzani back in January was a cat 5 but nothing like Ului already 2 cat 5s in 2010 I am impressed

Oh! I forgot about Edzani!

Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 4898
392. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
3:42 AM GMT on March 14, 2010
Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory Number EIGHTEEN
CYCLONE TROPICAL TRES INTENSE EDZANI (08-20092010)
22:00 PM Runion January 8 2010
======================================

At 18:00 PM UTC, Very Intense Tropical Cyclone Edzani (905 hPa) located at 16.4S 76.2E has 10 minute sustained winds of 120 knots with gusts of 170 knots. The cyclone was reported as moving southwest at 8 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T6.5/7.0/S.0/6 HRS

--------
Edzani got pretty strong as well even though the JTWC only made it up to Category 4 due to being unofficial office for the southern hemisphere.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44715
391. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
3:38 AM GMT on March 14, 2010
Fiji Meteorological Services
Tropical Disturbance Advisory #14
SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE TOMAS (14F)
12:00 PM FST March 14 2010
======================================

For Wallis and Futuna
======================
A GALE WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR FUTUNA.

A STRONG WIND WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR WALLIS.

For Fiji and Rotuma
====================
A STORM WARNING IS NOW IN FORCE FOR FUTUNA.

A STRONG WIND WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR WALLIS.

For Tuvalu
===========
A GALE WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR NIULAKITA.

A STRONG WIND WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR THE REST OF THE GROUP.


At 0:00 AM UTC, Severe Tropical Cyclone Tomas (972 hPa) located at 13.5S 179.2W has 10 minute sustained winds of 65 knots. Position GOOD based on hourly GMS/GOES enhanced infrared radar/visible imagery with animation. The cyclone is reported as moving south-southwest at 9 knots.

Hurricane Force Winds
=====================
30 NM from the center

Storm Force Winds
=================
60 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
================
150 NM from the center

Cyclone has intensified over the last 12 hours. Primary bands continuing to wrap tightly around low level circulation center. Cyclone lies over a weakly sheared and diffluent environment. Sea surface temperature is 30C. System steered south southwest by north northeast deep layer mean flow.

Dvorak analysis based on DT 4.5

Dvorak Intensity: T4.5/4.5/D1.0/24HRS

Global models agree on southwest track and intensification.

Forecast and Intensity
========================
12 HRS: 14.6S 179.8W - 70 knots (CAT 3)
24 HRS: 15.6S 179.8E - 85 knots (CAT 3)
48 HRS: 17.6S 179.4E - 80 knots (CAT 3)

The Next Tropical Disturbance Advisory On TC TOMAS Will Be Issued At Around 8:30 AM UTC...
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44715
390. JRRP
3:26 AM GMT on March 14, 2010
Quoting all4hurricanes:

I think Edzani back in January was a cat 5 but nothing like Ului already 2 cat 5s in 2010 I am impressed

Edzani was cat 4
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5331
389. all4hurricanes
3:19 AM GMT on March 14, 2010
Quoting Ameister12:
We have the first category 5 of 2010!


Ului is expected to peak out with winds of 180 mph!!!

I think Edzani back in January was a cat 5 but nothing like Ului already 2 cat 5s in 2010 I am impressed
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2346
388. JRRP
3:02 AM GMT on March 14, 2010

Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5331

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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.