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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Quoting StormW:


Yeah...from what I saw at the conference, looks like the ECMWF and GFS could be the ones to watch this season.


Aren't they always? lol
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30558
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
StormW

ECMWF recently increased resolution again, to T1279, 10 km.

Link


Looks like they've already done it... wow
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30558
Quoting StormW:


The ECMWF was brought to higher resolution from 25 km to 15 km.

I wrote some on the topic in my DAY 4 Hurricane Conference post on my blog.
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
StormW

ECMWF recently increased resolution again, to T1279, 10 km.

Link


Wow, that is awesome =)
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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.
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StormW

ECMWF recently increased resolution again, to T1279, 10 km.

Link
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Quoting StormW:


The ECMWF was brought to higher resolution from 25 km to 15 km.

I wrote some on the topic in my DAY 4 Hurricane Conference post on my blog.


Did they already bring up the model's resolution or is there a date in the future for that?
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30558
Here's a great link were you can get the ECMWF basin wide.
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176: when I get done with my travels, I am going to look back and check out the stuff you linked. Seems that I missed something.
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Quoting Drakoen:
Glad to see the GFS will be getting an upgrade. I highly value the GFS forecasts and will be interesting to see how it compares with the other models this season.


Indeed! The increased reso is nice but beyond 200hrs it doesn't concern me. More info can be found via THIS LINK.
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Quoting atmoaggie:

I am hoping the hurricane relocation changes and the improved convective schemes will help GFS with track (and intensity...a little). We have seen time and again how GFS will undercount upper level steering on a system it too weakly represents or initializes in the wrong place...especially on smaller systems.


Seasonally averaged improvements to intensity are much more obvious than track.






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Glad to see the GFS will be getting an upgrade. I highly value the GFS forecasts and will be interesting to see how it compares with the other models this season.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30558
Quoting Xyrus:


We won't be able to keep up with the Jones's until we get adequate funding for meteorological and climatological research/development.

The Europeans have been giving us a collective butt-whoopin' for at least a decade in the software department. Their general approach is more conducive to faster development. Their development/production environment is streamlined and built upon the idea of collaboration. They're more focused on the science and making useful as opposed to personal glory (there are exceptions of course). Their scientists also seem more willing to admit that software engineers are better at writing the software they want as opposed to the scientists hacking their way through it.

In general the Europeans seem more open to new ideas and change. In my experience this is a stark difference from how things are done on this side of the Atlantic.

~X~
That's quite a reversal of the historical norms. Traditionally it's been the Europeans who've been hidebound, while the Americans/Canadians embraced innovation.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22305
173. Xyrus
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Hey, gotta keep up with Jones's (ECMWF). Of course they are already at T799, so GFS really will still not be close.


We won't be able to keep up with the Jones's until we get adequate funding for meteorological and climatological research/development.

The Europeans have been giving us a collective butt-whoopin' for at least a decade in the software department. Their general approach is more conducive to faster development. Their development/production environment is streamlined and built upon the idea of collaboration. They're more focused on the science and making useful as opposed to personal glory (there are exceptions of course). Their scientists also seem more willing to admit that software engineers are better at writing the software they want as opposed to the scientists hacking their way through it.

In general the Europeans seem more open to new ideas and change. In my experience this is a stark difference from how things are done on this side of the Atlantic.

~X~
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Hey, gotta keep up with Jones's (ECMWF). Of course they are already at T799, so GFS really will still not be close.

I am hoping the hurricane relocation changes and the improved convective schemes will help GFS with track (and intensity...a little). We have seen time and again how GFS will undercount upper level steering on a system it too weakly represents or initializes in the wrong place...especially on smaller systems.
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Quoting Levi32:


This Atmo? Not sure what you're getting at with the SSH anomalies.

2010:



2005:



Now we don't know about 1964, but 2005 is the best analog fit (based on SST anomalies) for the ENSO signature in the equatorial Pacific. Look at the central-Pacific warm pool, and 2005 already had a patch of cool water off of South America but it's still pretty close. Obviously 2005 stayed above central-neutral for most of the hurricane season, but its method of decay was similar to how this year's El Nino is dying. The Atlantic SST profile is also very similar to this year.

2005 April 2nd SST Anomalies:



2010 April 1st SST Anomalies:



1995 is the next closest, but not so much with the Atlantic SST profile. 2005 is very similar in the Atlantic.

March 1995 SST Anomalies:


They really look alike in those plots, I'll give you that.

Odd that it would be so different from the JPL SSH plots.

Spring 2005 had much larger areas of positive anomaly than 2010.

(I wish the dates were aligned, but Feb 22 isn't all that far from March 1)
2005:


2010:


The SSH of 2005 speaks to thermocline depth and more overall warm water in the mixed layer.
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Quoting atmoaggie:

I knew nrt would be all over that...


Hey, gotta keep up with Jones's (ECMWF). Of course they are already at T799, so GFS really will still not be close.
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Hey WxLogic,

See my last post. T574 refers to the resolution of the model. It's calculated from the circumference of the earth at the equator and is roughly = 40,000 km / 3N, where N is the wavenumber, in this case 574.

You can review powerpoint presentations on the testing results of this new GFS configuration at this webpage.

I knew nrt would be all over that...
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Where in that link does it say it goes out to 572 hours? T574 is not hours, but the horizontal resolution.


After reading it carefully,you are right.Is not about extending the time but the resolution.
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Got it... very interesting. Thx for the link.
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Quoting WxLogic:


Hi Nrt...

I see that based on the article the time is expected to be expanded to 574HR:

EFFECTIVE JUNE 22 2010...BEGINNING WITH THE 1200 COORDINATED
UNIVERSAL TIME /UTC/ RUN...THE NATIONAL CENTERS FOR
ENVIRONMENTAL PREDICTION /NCEP/ WILL UPGRADE THE GLOBAL
FORECAST SYSTEM /GFS/. THE RESOLUTION OF THE GLOBAL FORECAST
MODEL WILL BE INCREASED FROM T382 /35 KM/ TO T574 /27 KM/.
THE HIGH RESOLUTION PORTION OF THE FORECAST WILL BE EXTENDED
FROM 180 HRS TO 192 HRS.
WITH THIS EXTENSION 3 HOURLY OUTPUT
WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE OUT TO 192 HOURS.

As per the link Tropic... posted. Appears that GFS will be getting another upgrade this year just before the most active months (knock on wood). We'll see how the new physics engines do this time and how well they can do against ECMWF.


Hey WxLogic,

See my last post. T574 refers to the resolution of the model. It's calculated from the circumference of the earth at the equator and is roughly = 40,000 km / 3N, where N is the wavenumber, in this case 574.

You can review powerpoint presentations on the testing results of this new GFS configuration at this webpage.
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Where in that link does it say it goes out to 572 hours? T574 is not hours, but the horizontal resolution.


I would have expected the horizontal resolution to be based on KM and time based on T. Did something change? or I'm wrong? Hehe...
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Where do you get "will go out to 572 hours"? All of the documentation I have seen still has it ending at 384 hours.


Hi Nrt...

I see that based on the article the time is expected to be expanded to 574HR:

EFFECTIVE JUNE 22 2010...BEGINNING WITH THE 1200 COORDINATED
UNIVERSAL TIME /UTC/ RUN...THE NATIONAL CENTERS FOR
ENVIRONMENTAL PREDICTION /NCEP/ WILL UPGRADE THE GLOBAL
FORECAST SYSTEM /GFS/. THE RESOLUTION OF THE GLOBAL FORECAST
MODEL WILL BE INCREASED FROM T382 /35 KM/ TO T574 /27 KM/.
THE HIGH RESOLUTION PORTION OF THE FORECAST WILL BE EXTENDED
FROM 180 HRS TO 192 HRS.
WITH THIS EXTENSION 3 HOURLY OUTPUT
WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE OUT TO 192 HOURS.

As per the link Tropic... posted. Appears that GFS will be getting another upgrade this year just before the most active months (knock on wood). We'll see how the new physics engines do this time and how well they can do against ECMWF.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


You didn't see the link about it at my post but here it is again.

Link


Where in that link does it say it goes out to 572 hours? T574 is not hours, but the horizontal resolution.
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Good Morning...
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Where do you get "will go out to 572 hours"? All of the documentation I have seen still has it ending at 384 hours.


You didn't see the link about it at my post but here it is again.

Link
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I've been looking at Wyoming webcams this a.m. It seems quite snowy there for the Easter weekend; about 2/3 of the state seems to be getting new snow or having old snow blown about....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22305
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
GFS will go out to 572 hours starting on June 22nd and high resolution timeframe will expand to 192 hours.

I would not be surprised if in the future it expands even further to 1,000 hours lol.

Link


Where do you get "will go out to 572 hours"? All of the documentation I have seen still has it ending at 384 hours.
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I've seen a real expansion in the availability of tropical imagery tools for lay wxpersons on the internet. When I started back in 2001 to rely heavily on internet sources, the only things "readily" available to most of the public were NHC and related products, or to a certain extent TWC. I think quite a lot of this increased availability is related to sites like this one, the Bastardis of the world (i.e. paid private services) and sites like hurricanecity.com, which collectively provide a range of information and at the same time push the envelope on what can be viewed by the general public.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22305
GFS will go out to 572 hours starting on June 22nd and high resolution timeframe will expand to 192 hours.

I would not be surprised if in the future it expands even further to 1,000 hours lol.

Link
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There's also an interesting story about the past and future of satellite imagery.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22305
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Changes to NHC Products for 2010
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Effective May 15, 2010 the National Hurricane Center will increase tropical storm and hurricane watch/warning lead times, and make changes to some of its text and graphical products. These changes are part of a continuing effort at the National Hurricane Center to expand and enhance its level of service.

The details are in PDF, so I'm just posting the Link.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22305
NOAA National Weather Service to Use New Hurricane Wind Scale
Storm Surge and Flooding Prediction Dropped in New Scale
February 17, 2010




Senior Hurricane Specialist Jack Beven discusses the forecast track of Hurricane Bill with hurricane specialist unit branch chief James Franklin and NHC director Bill Read, August, 2009.


High resolution (Credit: NOAA)
NOAA's National Weather Service will use a new hurricane scale this season called the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The scale keeps the same wind speed ranges as the original Saffir-Simpson Scale for each of the five hurricane categories, but no longer ties specific storm surge and flooding effects to each category.


http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100217_hurricane.html
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22305
NASA balloons to reach the edge of space

* From: NewsCore
* April 03, 2010 12:00AM


ENORMOUS balloons intended to carry scientific testing equipment to the edge of space will be launched on Saturday or Sunday in remote central Australia town, Alice Springs,

The multi-million dollar NASA-sponsored balloons, which are about 26 feet (8 meters) high, will be launched at the town's old airport site, about 930 miles (1500 kilometers) south of Darwin, continuing a scientific testing program that has been in operation since 1974.

Researchers, led by Professor Ravi Sood from the Australian Defence Force Academy at the University of New South Wales, successfully tested their equipment -- used to detect gamma and x-ray radiation from space -- on Tuesday.

Professor Sood told the Centralian Advocate that the first flight was likely to be made on Saturday or Sunday when the weather conditions were expected to be right.
The testing regime will include three balloon flights, carrying equipment that weighs about 2.75 tons (2.5 tonnes) per balloon, to a height of 25 miles (40km).

By the time the balloons reach the low air pressure regions at the edge of the earth's atmosphere they will have expanded to about the size of a football ground.

The balloons travel along air currents from central Australia to the west and east coasts, where tracking stations monitor the equipment.

Australian public broadcaster, the ABC, reported earlier this year that the giant plastic balloons carry germanium detectors, rare telescopes that collect data on x-rays and gamma rays, which cost AU$5-$10 million (US$4.6-9.2m).

When all the data is collected, the telescopes will be detached from the balloons and parachuted down to land.

Professor Sood told the ABC the launching the balloons was very tricky: "They're made of very flimsy material, you're talking about material that's the thickness of glad wrap (cling film)."
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Light show for WA to bring further rain


Storms are ripping through southern parts of WA again today, bringing more heavy rain.

A deep, slow-moving trough has been sparking the Easter storms. The heavenly phenomena have already brought some decent totals, to parts of the Southern Coastal, Great Southern and Goldfields districts.

Jacup saw two waves of storms push through yesterday afternoon and evening. The first brought a chill to the air as temperatures dropped from 23 degrees to 17 in a little over an hour. At 9am today the town recorded an admirable 35mm from the events, their best rain in a little over a year.

Kambalda, just south of Kalgoorlie in the Goldfields, amassed a huge 77mm in 24 hours, their best in at least six years.

Winds within storms have been gusty, but so far there have been no reports of anything considered damaging (>90km/h). Similarly, there have been no reports of large hail.

The storms are set to continue today, moving across the southern inland and coast towards the Eucla region. Further isolated heavy falls are possible. Again, as with Friday, the threat of severe storms bringing damaging winds or large hail is possible.


- Weatherzone
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Flood-waters recede in Gulf
Saturday April 3, 2010 - 17:06 EDT

Authorities say flood-waters in Queensland's Gulf region are receding.

Emergency Management Queensland (EMQ) says there is still major flooding around Burketown and the Aboriginal community of Doomadgee.

The remnants of cyclone Paul have been producing rain over the last few days.

Area Director of EMQ Elliott Dunn says one property near Queensland's border with the Northern Territory has been damaged.

"One property in particular, police had to organise to have the two residents flown out by helicopter because the water did go through their property. But at this stage that's the only one we're aware of," he said.

- ABC
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img src="" alt="" />

This is Hurricane Michelle 2001 in Nassau. Michelle was the first hurricane I was able to watch on computer. Our power stayed on until after the passage of the eye (and the eye DID pass over New Providence - it was so huge most of the island could fit in it all at once). I was able to watch Michelle "ripped to shreds" in the satellite view. On the ground, the ripping effect was seen in the extremely heavy, nay torrential rains and flooding experienced prior to the passage of the eye. After the eye had passed, however, we experienced very high winds but almost no rain.

This video looks like it was shot from one of the hotels on the Cable Beach Strip on the NW coast of New Providence. Maybe from the Sandals?
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22305
Quoting BahaHurican:
I see Robyn has been born. I'm glad to see it's expected to remain over open waters rather than get far enough SE to impact W Australia.

Meanwhile, I've been reading about the October 1866 hurricane that hit much of the Bahamas as a cat 4, devastating many of the island plantations and destroying at least one local church in Nassau. It was also responsible for the sinking of the Evening Star, a sidepaddle steamship which, overloaded and under lifeboated, sunk with the loss of over 250 passengers and crew as the hurricane recurved off the coast of GA. (This sinking puts the lie to the concept chivalry - women and children first; all 17 of the survivors were male, and all but 2 or 3 of them were crew members.... the women and children all drowned.)




TROPICAL CYCLONE TECHNICAL BULLETIN: AUSTRALIA - WESTERN REGION
Issued by PERTH TROPICAL CYCLONE WARNING CENTRE
at: 0111 UTC 03/04/2010
Name: Tropical Cyclone Robyn
Identifier: 12U
Data At: 0000 UTC
Latitude: 12.9S
Longitude: 92.2E
Location Accuracy: within 25 nm [45 km]
Movement Towards: south [191 deg]
Speed of Movement: 5 knots [9 km/h]
Maximum 10-Minute Wind: 40 knots [75 km/h]
Maximum 3-Second Wind Gust: 55 knots [100 km/h]
Central Pressure: 995 hPa
Radius of 34-knot winds NE quadrant: 50 nm [95 km]
Radius of 34-knot winds SE quadrant: 70 nm [130 km]
Radius of 34-knot winds SW quadrant: 120 nm [220 km]
Radius of 34-knot winds NW quadrant: 80 nm [150 km]
Radius of 48-knot winds NE quadrant:
Radius of 48-knot winds SE quadrant:
Radius of 48-knot winds SW quadrant:
Radius of 48-knot winds NW quadrant:
Radius of 64-knot winds:
Radius of Maximum Winds: N/A
Dvorak Intensity Code: T3.0/3.0/D1.0/24HRS
Pressure of outermost isobar: 1006 hPa
Radius of outermost closed isobar: 150 nm [280 km]
Storm Depth: Deep
FORECAST DATA
Date/Time : Location : Loc. Accuracy: Max Wind : Central Pressure
[UTC] : degrees : nm [km]: knots[km/h]: hPa
+12: 03/1200: 13.7S 92.2E: 045 [085]: 045 [085]: 991
+24: 04/0000: 14.3S 92.2E: 075 [140]: 055 [100]: 985
+36: 04/1200: 15.2S 92.3E: 105 [195]: 060 [110]: 982
+48: 05/0000: 15.9S 92.6E: 135 [250]: 065 [120]: 977
+60: 05/1200: 16.1S 93.5E: 165 [305]: 070 [130]: 974
+72: 06/0000: 16.2S 94.3E: 195 [360]: 075 [140]: 969
REMARKS:
Very deep convection continues near and southwest of the low level circulation
centre with improvement in banding evident on recent IR imagery. The
circulation has been hampered by moderate ENE vertical wind shear but this has
now dropped below 20 knots and the LLCC is now more aligned with convection
suggesting that further intensification is likely as guidance suggests.

Dvorak intensity CI/FT/DT=3.0 based on 0.6 curved band wrap, MET/PT agree, also
supported by AMSU estimates of 50 knot [1min mean].

Continued southerly motion is forecast with light steering flow with a ridge to
the south remaining weak . During Sunday a deepening mid-level trough to the
south may help to deepen the system and steer it to the southeast for a period.
There is then divergence in track predictions, although a recurvature to the
west and weakening seems the most likely scenario at this stage.

The cyclone is likely to remain over open waters and does not pose a risk to
island or coastal communities.

Copyright Commonwealth of Australia
==
The next bulletin for this system will be issued by: 03/0700 UTC by Perth TCWC.
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Quoting JRRP:

i did not feel anything

I have received the same alert then a alert saying deleted.
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Quoting doabarrelroll:
whats an analog year?


An analog year is a year that exhibited similar conditions to what we are observing now. They are a great tool in climate forecasting, because if it happened before, it can happen again, and looking at what set up certain things in the past can give us powerful insight into the future.
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Quoting emguy:
Looking at post 106...Would be concerned that increased water temps ALL over the Indian Ocean (and greater that the '05 anomoly) will lead to increased moisture over Africa, leading to increased wave activity in the Altantic. Another wild card widget for an above average hurricane season that may have been overlooked thus far.


Well, I could be wrong, but I don't think the Indian Ocean SSTs have too much to do with moisture content over Africa. The monsoon low which sets up over India during the summer actually creates a mean westerly wind in the low-mid levels over the Indian Ocean. The only flow that comes into Africa is the NE flow off of Asia between the Saharan subtropical high and the Indian monsoon low. This flow originates off the continent and parallels along the coast of the Arabian Peninsula before connecting to the African Easterly Jet. So since there isn't a strong moist flow coming into Africa off the water, I don't see how the Indian Ocean can affect Africa that much. This is actually the first time I've had to think about it though, so I could be missing something.

However, a warmer-than-normal Indian Ocean does add to the overall heat and moisture content of the tropical atmosphere, and in the big picture that supports more tropical cyclone activity world-wide, including the Atlantic.

Climatological 600mb wind vectors for August-September:

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Quoting Skyepony:
0602 AM TSTM WND DMG RUSH SPRINGS 34.78N 97.96W
04/02/2010 GRADY OK COUNTY OFFICIAL

THE COUNTY SHERIFF REPORTED A MOBILE HOME LOCATED ON THE
SOUTH SIDE OF TOWN WAS DESTROYED. THE DINER IN TOWN WAS
HEAVILY DAMAGED. AT LEAST SEVEN OTHER STRUCTURES WERE
HEAVILY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. SEVERAL LARGE TREES WERE
UPROOTED. SEVERAL OTHER POWER LINES...INCLUDING A
TRANSMISSION LINE... WERE ALSO DOWNED ACROSS HIGHWAY
81...CLOSING THE HIGHWAY. MUCH OF THE TOWN IS WITHOUT
POWER.


A town close to me, Skye. Thanks for posting that.

The National Weather Service visited the area and recorded damage, but it was unclear Friday night whether the destruction was the result of straight- line winds, a microburst or even a tornado... from this OKC newspaper story, recently updated.

Hi and goodnight, all. Happy Easter Bunny!
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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.