Comparing New England's floods to the floods of Hurricanes Connie and Diane (1955)

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:04 PM GMT on April 02, 2010

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The flood waters have receded in Rhode Island and surrounding regions of New England, leaving hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, but no flood-related deaths. The floods were caused by the third in a series of three extraordinarily wet Nor'easters that drenched the region with record rains over the past month. It was the wettest March on record over most of coastal New England from New York City to Boston, and the wettest month of any kind for several stations, including Providence, Rhode Island, and Blue Hill Observatory, Massachusetts. The rainfall amounts and resulting flooding in many cases exceeded the records set 55 years ago, during the notorious double-punch hurricanes of August 1955, when hurricanes Connie and Diane hit New England within five days of each other. However, this year's flooding event pales in comparison to the 1955 event, when considering damage and death toll. Hurricane Connie killed 25 people, and Hurricane Diane killed nearly 200 people when its record rains drenched regions already in flood because of Hurricane Connie. The single deadliest event occurred when a creek near Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania overflowed, killing fifty people unable to escape the rising water. Diane was the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, until it was surpassed by Hurricane Betsy in 1965. Accounting for inflation, Diane was the 16th costliest hurricane in U.S. history, with total damages of $7 billion (2004 USD.)


Figure 1. Total rainfall from hurricanes Connie and Diane in 1995. Image credit: NOAA.


Figure 2. Observed precipitation for the month of March 2010. Image credit: NOAA.

Severe weather today for Texas, Arkansas, and surrounding states
NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has designated portions of Texas and surrounding states as being at "slight" risk of severe weather today, as a strong springtime storm sweeps through the region. Check out the blog of our severe weather expert, Dr. Rob Carver, to get the details of this potential severe weather episode, which may bring damaging winds, hail, and possible tornadoes to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex this afternoon.

Portlight shipping 30,000 pounds of rice to Haiti
Portlight.org continues to work hard to get food and medical supplies into the earthquake zone in Haiti. Their latest effort is a shipment of 30,000 pounds of rice and 20,000 pounds of other supplies, mostly medical equipment, that has been loaded onto the schooner Halie and Mathew. The schooner is laying in Miami, fully loaded, waiting for a decrease in the easterly trade winds. These trade winds will blow at 10 - 20 knots over the next few days, thanks to the clockwise circulation of air around a high pressure system located just east of the Florida coast. According to the latest run of the GFS model, as visualized using our wundermap with the model map layer turned on, the high will slowly move eastward over the next week, and the easterly trade winds will finally die down by Thursday, allowing the Halie and Mathew to set sail for Hispaniola. Please visit the Portlight.org web site to learn more and to donate to this worthy cause.


Figure 3. Some of the 30,000 pounds of rice that has been loaded onto the schooner Halie and Mathew.

Jeff Masters

Rhode Island Flooding@ Newport # 9 (RIWXPhoto)
Rhode Island Flooding@ Newport # 9

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right now its april 3rd we should be around 48 we are at 74.5 with a humidex of 78.7 been in mid 70's for three days now even with cold front passage temps are gonna fall off a couple of degrees to high 60's or low 70'3 for highs for the week ahead so still much above normal
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52274
Quoting BahaHurican:
KOTG, are tornados frequent events in the SW Ontario area? I'm thinking south and West of Toronto, basically.
to be honest baha no when i first moved to sw ontario in 81 ya heard of them but you be lucky if ya have 1 or 2 warnings a summer but over the last ten years becoming more common and increasing in occurences have been noted also most ones be f0 but latly f2 f3 range has been occuring last summer there were 19 events mosly in late july and august but we are seeing extremes here with the high temps and warm humidex values so any thing can happen always expect the un-expected
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52274
KOTG, are tornados frequent events in the SW Ontario area? I'm thinking south and West of Toronto, basically.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20734
Quoting BahaHurican:
ON Forecast verification:

Do forecasters (like Gray, TSR, etc) get a "bye" if some unforecastable variable like a major volcanic eruption causes their forecast to be wildly off? Was just thinking about this in the context of the increased frequency of seismic activity we've been noting this JFM period...


I'm sure unprecedented things like that aren't held against them or anyone else if they end up having an effect.
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ON Forecast verification:

Do forecasters (like Gray, TSR, etc) get a "bye" if some unforecastable variable like a major volcanic eruption causes their forecast to be wildly off? Was just thinking about this in the context of the increased frequency of seismic activity we've been noting this JFM period...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20734


Warnings
City of Toronto
Saturday 03 April 2010
Wind warning for
City of Toronto issued

A sharp cold front will race through Southern Ontario this evening bringing a few showers over southwestern regions as well as much stronger southwesterly winds. Strong south winds of 50 km/h will develop ahead of the cold front this evening before quickly veering to the southwest as the front sweeps through. Strong gusts of 80 km/h with brief gusts to 90 km/h will accompany the southwest winds and are expected to last for one or two hours as the front passes through the area. Winds will diminish in intensity near midnight and through the overnight hours once the cold front is well out of the region. This is a warning that damaging winds are imminent or occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions..Listen for updated statements.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52274


WOCN11 CWTO 031646
Special weather statement
Issued by Environment Canada Ontario region. Saturday
3 April 2010.

Special weather statement issued for..
City of Toronto
Windsor - Essex - Chatham-Kent
Sarnia - Lambton
Elgin
London - Middlesex
Simcoe - Delhi - Norfolk
Dunnville - Caledonia - Haldimand
Oxford - Brant
Niagara
City of Hamilton
Halton - Peel
York - Durham
Huron - Perth
Waterloo - Wellington
Dufferin - Innisfil.

More record-breaking heat today...But strong winds this evening.

Another batch of temperature records are forecast to tumble today on
this final day of the current warm spell. A cold front will race
towards Southern Ontario later today from just Southwest of the Great
Lakes. A few showers will herald its arrival in the southwest as
well as much stronger southwesterly winds. A one or two hour period
of quite strong winds are likely behind the front with gusts in the
order of 80 km/h in many areas. A wind warning has been issued for
Southwestern Ontario extending east to Toronto and north to the Bruce
Peninsula. These regions have a greater threat of experiencing wind
gusts to 90 km/h behind the sharp cold front this evening. The wind
warning may be extended if the threat for higher winds gusts is
expected further east.

The winds will ease later tonight.

Listen for further statements. Additional information may also be
found by consulting the latest public forecast. The next public
forecast will be issued by 3.30 PM.

END/OSPC

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52274
Quoting StormW:


Yes...it was...I really look forward to the expertise of all of them (to include you)this season. There is a great amount of meteorological knowledge here.


Yes there is! I would like to commend many of the long term members who post here without singling any one person out. There has been tremendous growth here especially among some of the younger folks with respect to mid to long range forecasts. It was only a few years ago that I got hammered pretty hard for discussing long range possibilities LOL.
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Quoting StormW:


Yes...it was...I really look forward to the expertise of all of them (to include you)this season. There is a great amount of meteorological knowledge here.
I was saying something to this effect earlier in the week. It takes quite a few of us to do it, I admit, but collectively we manage to keep up with NHC for most storms. To put it another way:

In previous seasons I was likely to look at NHC forecast / discussion FIRST, then check the blog to see what ppl here are saying about it. These days I see what the blog is saying first, then go to NHC to confirm.... I still go to NHC as the final word, but it means a lot to my way of thinking that I expect just about everything NHC has to say to already have been postulated on the blog in the previous 3-6 hours before an official forecast is given....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20734
Quoting BahaHurican:
228. Levi

Think I agree w/ u about the PDO. Though to give the CPC credit, we still do seem to be lingering in the winter pattern so far (in all three days of APR we've had...). I just recall how quickly things can heat up once they actually DO heat up....


Well yeah, I think it might be a little slow getting going this spring, but I do think the CPC forecast for cold all summer long is a bit off.
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228. Levi

Think I agree w/ u about the PDO. Though to give the CPC credit, we still do seem to be lingering in the winter pattern so far (in all three days of APR we've had...). I just recall how quickly things can heat up once they actually DO heat up....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20734
Quoting Drakoen:


Looks like you've spoken too soon
[laconic] Glad I didn't click on that...
lol
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20734
Quoting Drakoen:
Wondering if the CPC is going with the CFS and not the European models for the A-M-J period. The CPC forecast for below average temperatures across the central and eastern Sun belt region.

CPC:



CFS:


ECMWF:


Lol are you kidding Drak.....NOAA worships the CFS and GFS. We all know that :)

Gotta say I'm more inclined to go with Euro on this one though. It makes more sense anyway. The biggest problem I see with the CFS is its SST forecast in the Pacific, which insists on warming up the water off the west coast of North America throughout the summer, indicating a warm PDO signal. The only problem is the PDO is going to reverse to cold and already has a cold SST signature. The warm water in the Gulf of Alaska and off the west coast on the CFS could help explain the cold summer forecast for the CONUS. The Japanese and Euro models are in the opposite camp with colder water off the west coast of North America, and hence a warmer CONUS forecast.

The analogs coming off an El Nino are also all warm for the summer.
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Wondering if the CPC is going with the CFS and not the European models for the A-M-J period. The CPC forecast for below average temperatures across the central and eastern Sun belt region.

CPC:



CFS:


ECMWF:
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29714
Quoting sarahjola:

thanks! that was perfect. i actually understand. lol! so, it looks as of now that the season is going to be busy. that is if everything plays out right. thanks again for educating me on this topic.


No problem, if you have anymore questions just ask :)
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Quoting Levi32:


I was really happy to see Adrian, you, Drak, Teddy, Baha, and StormW all here at the same time, but half of them already left lol. It was nice though.


Its always an honor to be here too. I've learned so much about tropical weather the past 5 years.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23013
Quoting Levi32:


Ok, your post looked short and then it wasn't...lol.

how does El nino encourage tropical weather and is that play in motion?

El Nino is generally not favorable for Atlantic hurricane activity. It's the other phase, La Nina, which is usually favorable. This is because it raises surface pressures in the eastern Pacific and NW South America, which lowers pressures and increases upward air motion over the SW Atlantic. There are many other things it does as well, but I don't know how detailed you want to get. Yes that factor is in play this year as the El Nino is decaying and we are forecast to go into at least a weak La Nina during the height of the hurricane season.

where is it most likely for the first storm of the season to develop? would it be the Caribbean or Africa?

Early-season storms generally form in the breeding grounds of the western Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Occasionally an early storm can develop off the SE US coast as well. Storms don't form east or north of the Caribbean early in the year as SSTs are usually not yet warm enough, the ITCZ is not far enough north yet, and there is usually still a lot of vertical wind shear over the tropical Atlantic. African tropical waves don't usually start developing until August, but they sometimes do in July.



what has to be happening in Africa for a tropical cyclone to develop?

Well it's what happens over the eastern Atlantic that matters as far as tropical cyclone development is concerned, but Africa can help set up a potential system by having an active ITCZ, a strong African Easterly Jet, and a wetter than normal rainy season which diminishes wind-born dust.

last season people were talking about the dust off the African coast, is the dust going to be a deterrent this season?

African dust can often be difficult to predict, but so far this winter trade winds over the eastern Atlantic have been slower than normal, and if this pattern continues into the early summer, the slower winds will mean that less dust will be blowing off of Africa. Dust is also controlled to a point by how much rain falls over the Sahel region of Africa during their rainy season, which doesn't start until June. Some models are suggesting west Africa will see normal to above normal rainfall, and this would also serve to reduce the amount of African dust making it into the Atlantic.

A lot of these things we still have to wait a while before we can say with a good degree of certainty how they may turn out. We will be watching as the season approaches.

I hope that answers some of your questions.



thanks! that was perfect. i actually understand. lol! so, it looks as of now that the season is going to be busy. that is if everything plays out right. thanks again for educating me on this topic.
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Quoting Jedkins01:

lol! i love it!!! these idiots don't care about the people in this country. he wants to get health insurance for everybody, and that guy was right. this bill doesn't even come close to doing that. try telling that to people who haven't read any parts of the bill and are just listening to the government media and their politicians. its really a bad state when people start blindly trusting our politicians. c'mon most of them are or were lawyers.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Nice to discuss things with this crew without some of the other junk that has been posted in here for 98% of the offseason.


Looks like you've spoken too soon
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29714
Quoting sarahjola:
how does El nino encourage tropical weather and is that play in motion? where is it most likely for the first storm of the season to develop? would it be the Caribbean or Africa? what has to be happening in Africa for a tropical cyclone to develop? last season people were talking about the dust off the African coast, is the dust going to be a deterrent this season?


Ok, your post looked short and then it wasn't...lol.

how does El nino encourage tropical weather and is that play in motion?

El Nino is generally not favorable for Atlantic hurricane activity. It's the other phase, La Nina, which is usually favorable. This is because it raises surface pressures in the eastern Pacific and NW South America, which lowers pressures and increases upward air motion over the SW Atlantic. There are many other things it does as well, but I don't know how detailed you want to get. Yes that factor is in play this year as the El Nino is decaying and we are forecast to go into at least a weak La Nina during the height of the hurricane season.

where is it most likely for the first storm of the season to develop? would it be the Caribbean or Africa?

Early-season storms generally form in the breeding grounds of the western Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Occasionally an early storm can develop off the SE US coast as well. Storms don't form east or north of the Caribbean early in the year as SSTs are usually not yet warm enough, the ITCZ is not far enough north yet, and there is usually still a lot of vertical wind shear over the tropical Atlantic. African tropical waves don't usually start developing until August, but they sometimes do in July.



what has to be happening in Africa for a tropical cyclone to develop?

Well it's what happens over the eastern Atlantic that matters as far as tropical cyclone development is concerned, but Africa can help set up a potential system by having an active ITCZ, a strong African Easterly Jet, and a wetter than normal rainy season which diminishes wind-born dust.

last season people were talking about the dust off the African coast, is the dust going to be a deterrent this season?

African dust can often be difficult to predict, but so far this winter trade winds over the eastern Atlantic have been slower than normal, and if this pattern continues into the early summer, the slower winds will mean that less dust will be blowing off of Africa. Dust is also controlled to a point by how much rain falls over the Sahel region of Africa during their rainy season, which doesn't start until June. Some models are suggesting west Africa will see normal to above normal rainfall, and this would also serve to reduce the amount of African dust making it into the Atlantic.

A lot of these things we still have to wait a while before we can say with a good degree of certainty how they may turn out. We will be watching as the season approaches.

I hope that answers some of your questions.


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Quoting Levi32:


You sound like Taco when you steal his smiley like that....lol.

Oh it was March of Mayhem here with those two blizzards we had, but it has since calmed down, just plain cloudy here for the last week or so. I'm hoping we will have a nice spring, but it's looking like Alaska may be in for a cooler-than-normal summer based on the patterns shaping up. That fits in line with a hot summer for the central-eastern CONUS too.


Well, we're having temps slightly above normal here in North Central TX, after 4 months of below normal temps, April may actually be an above normal temp month for us.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
209: And yourself...you belong in that group.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting Bordonaro:


Thanks Levi :0)! How is the weather in Homer, AK these days!


You sound like Taco when you steal his smiley like that....lol.

Oh it was March of Mayhem here with those two blizzards we had, but it has since calmed down, just plain cloudy here for the last week or so. I'm hoping we will have a nice spring, but it's looking like Alaska may be in for a cooler-than-normal summer based on the patterns shaping up. That fits in line with a hot summer for the central-eastern CONUS too.
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how does El nino encourage tropical weather and is that play in motion? where is it most likely for the first storm of the season to develop? would it be the Caribbean or Africa? what has to be happening in Africa for a tropical cyclone to develop? last season people were talking about the dust off the African coast, is the dust going to be a deterrent this season?
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Quoting Drakoen:


I agree with the starting early and ending late. The CFS shows shear well-below average throughout the hurricane season and then some. In addition, the climate models forecast for continued anomalously higher precipitation in the climatologically favored regions through the O-N-D period.


Yeah, not to mention how well it agrees with the analogs. It's also disturbing to see the models showing the Atlantic as the strongest anomalous focus of heat and precipitation worldwide, even surpassing the Indian Ocean this year.
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Quoting Levi32:


It's from the Accuweather Pro site, so I can't link it. It's a paid site. I also can't post his entire blog entry or I'd be violating copyright.

If anyone here is interested in Joe Bastardi's opinions though, check out his Video Channel on the free site. He puts some good stuff on there sometimes multiple times a week.


Thanks Levi :0)! How is the weather in Homer, AK these days!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting Bordonaro:


good morning Levi. Could you please be so kind as to provide a link to his article. We'd all like to see what he has to say! Thanks :0)


It's from the Accuweather Pro site, so I can't link it. It's a paid site. I also can't post his entire blog entry or I'd be violating copyright.

If anyone here is interested in Joe Bastardi's opinions though, check out his Video Channel on the free site. He puts some good stuff on there sometimes multiple times a week.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2010 will likely be an above average season in line with past historical trends -- above average seasons typically follow below average El Nino seasons. How intense the storms will be will depend on vertical shear and mid-level dry air conditions, and how well organized/intense the tropical waves are when they come off of Africa. The latter three no one knows about this far in advance, and conditions can change within the season itself.

I do, however, feel that we will see an early season TC form in the Caribbean Sea in June.


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Quoting Levi32:
Mmm....from Bastardi's post this morning. It's scary to hear him talk like this.

As a disturbing side note on the hurricane season... the water temps in the atlantic are closest to the year 2005 in their set up, and the forecasted pattern in May is one that is almost textbook for the major hurricane season. It should start early, and stay late

thanks for reading, lets hope I am wrong


I agree with the starting early and ending late. The CFS shows shear well-below average throughout the hurricane season and then some. In addition, the climate models forecast for continued anomalously higher precipitation in the climatologically favored regions through the O-N-D period.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29714
Quoting atmoaggie:
Nice to discuss things with this crew without some of the other junk that has been posted in here for 98% of the offseason.


I was really happy to see Adrian, you, Drak, Teddy, Baha, and StormW all here at the same time, but half of them already left lol. It was nice though.
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Quoting Levi32:
Mmm....from Bastardi's post this morning. It's scary to hear him talk like this.

As a disturbing side note on the hurricane season... the water temps in the atlantic are closest to the year 2005 in their set up, and the forecasted pattern in May is one that is almost textbook for the major hurricane season. It should start early, and stay late

thanks for reading, lets hope I am wrong


good morning Levi. Could you please be so kind as to provide a link to his article. We'd all like to see what he has to say! Thanks :0)
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting sarahjola:
does anyone here thing that we will get an early storm? i have heard some people suggest that we will see our first storm develop in may. what say you? is the atmosphere right for early development of tropical weather?


I think it will be in June, but I'm not sold on May yet. I'd like to see how certain things are shaping up at the beginning of the month before I decide whether I think there's a good chance for a May storm.
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Nice to discuss things with this crew without some of the other junk that has been posted in here for 98% of the offseason.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
does anyone here think that we will get an early storm? i have heard some people suggest that we will see our first storm develop in may. what say you? is the atmosphere right for early development of tropical weather?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Mmm....from Bastardi's post this morning. It's scary to hear him talk like this.

As a disturbing side note on the hurricane season... the water temps in the atlantic are closest to the year 2005 in their set up, and the forecasted pattern in May is one that is almost textbook for the major hurricane season. It should start early, and stay late

thanks for reading, lets hope I am wrong
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Good day to everyone :0)! Here is a look at the Preliminary Storm Reports from Friday, April 2, 2010:
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting BahaHurican:
Is it me, or is there no Indian Ocean close up there? I ended up in the global view in order to be able to see TC Robyn there.... Good site otherwise...


Try the south Asia region for the North Indian. You'd have to use global for South Indian though.
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Quoting hurricane23:
Here's a great link were you can get the ECMWF basin wide.
Is it me, or is there no Indian Ocean close up there? I ended up in the global view in order to be able to see TC Robyn there.... Good site otherwise...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20734
Quoting Levi32:
Daily SOI is up in the 20s now. Link


The 30 day index is going up.

oops I posted that same graphic that StormW posted but took it out.
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The MJO is moving along nicely now as well.

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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Also for those people bookmarking as many links as you can I suggest you go to our old friend StormJunkie's website and go to Quick Links.

58 Days until the Atlantic Hurricane Season.
42 Days until the Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season.


Or mine
;) I will continue to update this season as I find more links.
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Daily SOI is up in the 20s now. Link
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Quoting StormW:


LOL!

Especially the ECMWF, as they made note that it has outperformed ALL the models for the past 3 years.


Didn't the ECMWF have Dean moving out to sea or I am just imaging that? Otherwise, yea the ECMWF has done great with track and intensity.. remember Bill how all the other models had to going towards FL and the ECMWF was the only model saying Bill was out to sea?
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23013
Quoting StormW:


WOW!

Makes me wonder why they didn't mention that at the conference?


After looking further it appears you are correct, 25km to 16km. The T1279 applies to the spectral field only. I always thought the T number applies to horizontal resolution, but the table in the ECMWF release shows differently.
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Quoting Drakoen:


Aren't they always? lol


Maybe the GFS will have a good year like 2008. It did great on cyclonegensis.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23013

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About JeffMasters

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