Flooding death toll in Southeast U.S. floods rises to 24; oil slick moving little

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:11 PM GMT on May 04, 2010

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The death toll from last weekend's record flooding in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi has risen to 24, making it the deadliest non-tropical storm or hurricane flood disaster in the U.S. since the October 1998 Central Texas floods that killed 31 when a cold front stalled over Texas. As flood waters recede today, the toll from last weekend's floods is expected to grow higher. Particularly hard-hit was the Nashville, Tennessee area, where ten fatalities were reported. The city had its heaviest 1-day and 2-day rainfall amounts in its history over the weekend. A remarkable 7.25" of rain fell on the city Sunday, breaking the record for most rain in a single day (6.60", set September 13, 1979.) Nashville's third greatest day of rainfall on record occurred Saturday, when 6.32" fell. Nashville also eclipsed its greatest 6-hour and 12-hour rainfall events on record, with 5.57" and 7.20", respectively, falling on Sunday. And, only two days into the month, the weekend rains made it the rainiest May in Nashville's history.

Rainfall records were smashed all across Tennessee, Kentucky, and northern Mississippi over the weekend, with amounts as high as 17.73" recorded at Camden, TN, and 17.02" at Brownsville, TN. According to Chris Burt, the author of the excellent book Extreme Weather, the 13.30" that fell on Camden in 24 hours just missed eclipsing the state's all-time 24-hour precipitation record, the 13.60" inches that fell on Milan on September 13, 1982. Jackson, Tennessee had its rainiest day in its 63-year weather history on Sunday, 7.93". Bowling Green Kentucky had its heaviest 2-day precipitation event on record, 9.67". Records in Bowling Green go back to 1870.


Figure 1. Satellite-estimated precipitable water at 23 UTC (7 pm EDT) Sunday, May 2, 2010. Precipitable water is a measure of how much rain would be produced if all the water vapor and cloud moisture through the depth of the atmosphere were to fall as rain. Values above 50 mm (about 2 inches) are frequently associated with flooding. Sunday's precipitable water image showed a tropical disturbance crossed Mexico into the Gulf of Mexico, dragging a plume of very moist air northwards over the Southeast U.S. Image credit: University of Wisconsin GOES Satellite Blog.


Figure 2. Flood forecast for the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. Image credit: NOAA.

The record rains were accompanied by a surge of very warm air that set record high temperature marks at 21 major airports across the Eastern U.S. on Saturday. This is not surprising, since more moisture can evaporate into warmer air, making record-setting rainfall events more likely when record high temperatures are present. Accompanying this warm air was moisture from a tropical disturbance that crossed over Mexico from the tropical East Pacific over the weekend (Figure 1.)

The record rains sent the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville surging to 51.86' this morning, 12' over flood height, and the highest level the river has reached since a flood control project was completed in the early 1960s. The previous post-flood control project record level was 47.6', set on March 15, 1975 (the river hit 56.2' in 1929, before the flood control project was built.) The river has now crested (Figure 2) and is expected to recede below flood stage by Wednesday morning. There are no further rains in the forecast this week for Tennessee. At least four rivers in Tennessee reached their greatest flood heights on record this week. Most remarkable was the Duck River at Centreville, which crested at 47', a full 25 feet above flood stage, and ten feet higher than the previous record crest, achieved in 1948 (to check out the flood heights, use our wundermap for Nashville with the "USGS River" layer turned on.)

Funding issues to take 17 Tennessee streamgages offline
According to the USGS web site, seventeen Tennessee streamflow gages with records going back up to 85 years will stop collecting data on July 1 because of budget cuts. With up to eighteen people in Tennessee dying from flooding this weekend, now hardly seems to be the time to be skimping on monitoring river flow levels by taking 17 of Tennessee's 94 streamflow gages out of service. These gages are critical for proper issuance of flood warnings to people in harm's way. Furthermore, Tennessee and most of the northern 2/3 of the U.S. can expect a much higher incidence of record flooding in coming decades. This will be driven by two factors: increased urban development causing faster run-off, and an increase in very heavy precipitation events due to global warming. Both factors have already contributed to significant increases in flooding events in recent decades over much of the U.S. The USGS web site advertises that users who can contribute funding for the non-Federal share of costs to continue operation of these streamgages should contact Shannon Williams of the USGS Tennessee Water Science Center at 615-837-4755 or swilliam@usgs.gov. Tennessee is not the only state with streamgages at risk of closing down; fully 276 gages in 37 states have been shut down or will be shut down later this year. If you have questions about specific streamgages, click on the state of concern on the USGS web page of threatened stream gages.

Oil spill update
The oil slick from the April 20 explosion and blowout of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon has retreated from the coast, thanks to a slackening of the persistent onshore winds that have affected the northern Gulf of Mexico over the past week. According to the latest NWS marine forecast, winds will be light and variable through Wednesday, resulting in little transport of the oil slick. Winds will then resume a weak onshore flow at 5 - 10 knots, Thursday through Friday, then reverse to blow offshore at 5 - 10 knots over the weekend. The net result of this wind pattern will be little transport of the oil slick. The only areas at risk of landfalling oil over the next five days will be the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana, and the Chandeleur Islands. The latest forecast of Gulf currents from the NOAA HYCOM model (see also this alternative view of the HYCOM ocean current forecast) show weak ocean currents affecting the region during the remainder of the week. These currents will not be strong enough to push any oil southwards into the Loop Current over the next five days, so the Keys and South Florida are safe from oil for now. I'll have a post on the long-range prospects for oil to enter the Loop Current later this week, and a discussion of how a hurricane might affect and be affected by the oil spill.


Figure 3. Forecast location at 6pm CDT Tuesday, May 4, 2010, of the oil slick from the Deepwater Horizon blowout. Image credit: NOAA Office of Response and Restoration. See also the trajectory maps available at State of Louisiana web site.

Jeff Masters

Alice Aycock sculpture (laughingjester)
If you saw my other pics of this sculpture you cam get an idea how high the Cumberland river has risen. when I left it was still getting higher.
Alice Aycock sculpture
Harpeth River Flooding (XMLP)
Harpeth River Flooding
Removing the flood damaged cars and trucks. (laughingjester)
I am a wrecker driver for Martin's wrecker service. We were called to remove the vehicles that got caught in the flooding on interstate I 24 westbound near the Bell Road exit in Nashville Tennessee. Of course this is after the waters had subsided. It was roughly 200, 250 cars and trucks that got caught up in the flood..
Removing the flood damaged cars and trucks.
Nashville Flooding (jadnash)
This is looking east - the Cumberland River is just on the other side of the buildings.
Nashville Flooding
Parking via Mother Nature (jadnash)
This car drove into the swiftly moving water at the Belle Meade Kroger and was thrown up against a parking deck. Luckily someone got a ladder and dropped it down to break the rear window and the driver climbed out safely!
Parking via Mother Nature

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Not really much happening anywhere right now :)




AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI
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Low shear all the way out as well.

Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Quoting indianrivguy:


what a beautiful image.. we live on a glorious planet.. thanks!


No problem.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Pretty impressive for May.

Im not 100% sure if they're AEWs, I would wait for Drak or Levi to confirm.

Good morning awesome image stormchaser2007 of what could be the seasons first easterly wave.
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Dangerous warming continues

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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Pretty impressive for May.

Im not 100% sure if they're AEWs, I would wait for Drak or Levi to confirm.



what a beautiful image.. we live on a glorious planet.. thanks!
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Very interesting that BOTH "waves" are over 30-31C waters.

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I agree. I like others are watching all the updates. Only for the fact I live on Mobile Bay. Andas of right now I have a 30' paperweight in my back yard.
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Pretty impressive for May.

Im not 100% sure if they're AEWs, I would wait for Drak or Levi to confirm.

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Quoting msgambler:
Good morning everyone....From what I've read it may be true but bitter-sweet. They sealed a leak point but that doesn't lesson the amount that is coming out. It just means that there is 2 insstead of 3. The box is supposed to leave the yard today and they said once it arrived it would still take 2 days to reach it's final spot on the bottom. I hope sooner.


I was wondering if that meant it would just flow out the other 2. Headway though.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Good morning everyone....From what I've read it may be true but bitter-sweet. They sealed a leak point but that doesn't lesson the amount that is coming out. It just means that there is 2 insstead of 3. The box is supposed to leave the yard today and they said once it arrived it would still take 2 days to reach it's final spot on the bottom. I hope sooner.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Rather impressive wave-like area of convection over West-central Africa.

our first easterly wave ? right on time
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NOAA Situation Update 04 May 10

Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) cut off a section at the end of the riser pipe, which used to lead from the well to the rig, and capped it with a valve. While this stopped one of the three leaks, oil continues to enter the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of approximately 5000 barrels (210,000 gallons) per day.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Rather impressive wave-like area of convection over West-central Africa.



With the sea temps in the MDR, this year could take off rather quickly as soon as the shear lets up.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
Smallest leak on damaged oil well capped, BP says


It's true, I think, lol. Lets wait till later today for confirmation.


hoo-freakin-rah...now, about those others...
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Smallest leak on damaged oil well capped, BP says


It's true, I think, lol. Lets wait till later today for confirmation.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Goodmorning, Wunderfolks.
Another Record warm low temperature set (two days in a row) here in ECFL. Yesterday's was at OIA (Orlando Int. Airport) where the record low was 74 degrees.
Forecast is 88 today, 90 tomorrow and then 88 for the remainder of the week.
I hope the Thunderdome contraption over the Big Polluter (BP) spill will help contain the oil.
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Rather impressive wave-like area of convection over West-central Africa.

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Quoting tomas5tex:
British Petroleum reportedly caps one of three oil leaks in Gulf of Mexico


If that's true!!!! Woohoo...just a couple left!
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British Petroleum reportedly caps one of three oil leaks in Gulf of Mexico
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401. MahFL
Not knowing which schematic you looked at...this is what I understand, the leaks are now 2, one at the drill head riser, and the other in the pipe that is still attached, remember the pipe was 5000 ft long and fell onto the sea bed floor during the accident. BP are going to lower 2 containment hoods onto the leaks, and try to get the oil to flow up to the surface in 2 pipes. BP are drilling 2 relief wells, which will take weeks, then cap the leak, then later re-open the well for normal production of oil.

Seems there are still 3 leaking points but they hope to seal one today, the same amount of oil will still be leaking of course.
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Quoting biff4ugo:
Good Morning/Evening

Is there any word on the remote subs shutting off the flow from the well? I haven't seen anything on the media outlets.
I saw a schematic showing 3 leak points but two of those were not attached to the well. Does anybody know how much oil was on the deephorizon platform when it sank? If that is a source, at least it is not limitless.


They have been unsuccessful in stopping any leaks with the Robots. 2 domes are going down tomorrow and they hope to stop the third leak with a some sort of shut-off valve which I believe has been successful in slowing the flow of oil out of the third leak point thus far.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
folks i agree with you about being concerned about the hurricane season, but its a prediction for now. most of on the gulf coast are much more concerned with the obvious which is the oil spill which i assure you if it does come ashore the economy of the gulf coast will be much more devasted than any hurricane would cause. not picking on anyone but i think we should woory more about the inevitalbe than the possible, have a blessed day.
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Good Morning/Evening

Is there any word on the remote subs shutting off the flow from the well? I haven't seen anything on the media outlets.
I saw a schematic showing 3 leak points but two of those were not attached to the well. Does anybody know how much oil was on the deephorizon platform when it sank? If that is a source, at least it is not limitless.
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Max distance when talking about 10's of kilometers would be about 60 miles.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
10 kilometers = 6.2 miles


how many 10's? who knows.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
10 kilometers = 6.2 miles
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Seems it's not going to matter if the oil moves, that sucks.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
80 right now north of Orlando with 90% humidity. This heat and humdity is quite intense for this time of year. Heating of the day should really fire intense thunderstorms across C FL today.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
Good morning guys


Good Morning.....Other than post-flooding mourning for the victims in the South, the oil slick looming in the Gulf, and, a pending intense hurricane season on the horizon, things look quiet weather wise so far today (cannot speak for any other potential natural disaters which could pop up over the next few days)....... :(
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Good morning. A drier day in Puerto Rico is expected. Only 26 days until June 1.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14553
Good morning guys
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Morning all, have 75.6 outside this morning. Smell of rain in the air, we'll see!
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Correct. CIMSS is best.

Incorrect. SSD is best.
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Quoting altesticstorm10:

LOL. 16/7/4 falls short of 2008 which had SSTs marginal at best during the hurricane season. I'm sorry, but that's downcasting.

20/11/5


I'm not downcasting anything, the fact that I expect this to be an extremely active Hurricane season proves that.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24468
i was lucky when i was young to do some sailing got to go onboard a couple of those racing sailboats. they are not very crew friendly living quarters are small everything seemed set up for racing. we were happy to be on the boat we were on leave that kind of sailing to the hardcore salt sailors. those boats were fast really fast. hope everyone is having a good morning
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Quoting Tazmanian:
Feltgen said that if an oil slick is large enough - on the order of several square miles - it could slow or even prevent the genesis of a hurricane or tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico because the oil layer would prevent the evaporation of seawater, which is crucial for a hurricane or storm to gather power.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20100504/sc_livescience/hurricaneseasoncouldhaltoilspillcleanup

That seems plausible for the early genesis stage as oil will dampen out capillary waves that are on the order of mm to a few cm. The dampened capillary waves would greatly reduce the total surface area, and in combination with the oil layer should reduce evaporation and hence reduce evaporative cooling. This effect may contribute to a slight net warming of the surface waters.

However, if a fully formed TC hits the slick, the breaking waves and much deeper water-atmosphere interface would almost certainly nullify this effect, breaking up the slick and probably emulsifying much of the oil under high winds.

PS I see the article you cited says pretty much the same thing.
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381. xcool
wunderkidcayman wow nice lowwww
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380. xcool
Tazmanian thank .i have more shear map ...
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Quoting southlouisiana:


Hi homless. I have some nostalgia about those nights but prefer the setup I have now. After Rita my company agreed to fly my family out before a storm from now on in return for my agreeing to remain and work. Works out great and a huge load off my mind. I have sat the last three out right here with them safe up north.
BTW of all the people here I never saw you show your rear. Dont know what you are talking about.


Lol. Thanks. That's great that your company does that. I know it's a load off your mind. Hubby is a manager at Wal Mart. After Rita they wouldn't let them stay in the store. For Gustav or Ike. But they have a contract to supply the first responders so he has to go strait back. He has had some lonnngg commutes. Lol. But that suits him. He'd go nuts with nothing to do. Me, I'm a little more laid back or maybe that's spoiled. I love me some ac and a comfy bed. Lol.
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Quoting Bordonaro:

No, don't be sick, just be prepared.

This may be a bad comparison. I live in Dallas-Ft Worth, TX. Every Mar 15-Jun 15, we run the risk of severe thunderstorms with potentially damaging tornadoes. I am prepared, knowing what to expect, as a 30 yr N TX resident!

An EF-3 or larger tornado is possible every year here in N TX. There are 6.5 million people at risk. Mega-Disasters even did a show on "What an EF-5 Tornado would do to Dallas". And it can happen!

Normally a handful of EF-0 to EF-2 tornadoes will affect our area each year. This year has been very quiet!

On Mar 28, 2000, and F-2 tornado hit downtown Ft Worth, TX at about 6:20PM CDT, causing $500 million in damage in about 5 minutes. The same parent thunderstorm dropped an F-4 tornado in SE Arlington, TX in a residential neighborhood, causing a few million in damage in minutes. I saw the damage a week after the event, it was amazing, it was very bad!


I saw the Fort Worth tornado on a restaurant security cam At the top of a high rise. Wow! We all have our weather to deal with. All we can do is our best to be ready. That's one of those things you have no control over. So try to not get too worried. Leave that to crazy old women like me. ;)
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Quoting homelesswanderer:
Hey Tommy. :)

And Southlouisiana. I imagine it was one very scary night. By the time my brother in law found us in the Sonic in Kilgore on the afternoon of the 23rd we were done. He put us up at his house. I don't even think we stopped at the rest room we just crashed woke up about 7 the next day and the deed was done. Ike chased us to Longview and wreaked havoc there. Trees on houses no power. We had to fill the bathtubs in the motel up. On the bottom floor they had to stuff the towels under the doors to try to stop the water. On the second floor it just blew in. I am very glad there will be inland hurricane warnings.

But my wildest ride was Humberto. In a trailer. Two gigantic pines in the backyard. When the lightning flashed we could see them bending scraping one end of the house. We went to the other end. That was terrifying enough. I can't imagine Rita. Ike took down the second biggest pine. The tree company took down the other this past March. That made us very popular with the neighbors. The last of the giants are still coming down. But as you said not a whole lot left.


Hi homless. I have some nostalgia about those nights but prefer the setup I have now. After Rita my company agreed to fly my family out before a storm from now on in return for my agreeing to remain and work. Works out great and a huge load off my mind. I have sat the last three out right here with them safe up north.
BTW of all the people here I never saw you show your rear. Dont know what you are talking about.
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Quoting Bordonaro:

No, don't be sick, just be prepared.

This may be a bad comparison. I live in Dallas-Ft Worth, TX. Every Mar 15-Jun 15, we run the risk of severe thunderstorms with potentially damaging tornadoes. I am prepared, knowing what to expect, as a 30 yr N TX resident


Very wise. I keep plenty of supplies myself. How much do you want to bet that if New orleans gets slammed by a hurricane again this year within 24 hours they will be (a)stranded on overpasses (b)starving (3) dehydrating.
50 years of liberal rule in New orleans has created several generations of people helpless without a handout.
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Hey Tommy. :) As always thanks!Hi Everyone. Sorry for showing my a..- uh behind. Well if nothing else maybe it will do some good to have a dialog about it. Bord and Houston/Galv have a point about leaving early if you can. The local authorities requested all those could leave early please do.

And Southlouisiana. I imagine it was one very scary night. By the time my brother in law found us in the Sonic in Kilgore on the afternoon of the 23rd we were done. He put us up at his house. I don't even think we stopped at the rest room we just crashed woke up about 7 the next day and the deed was done. Ike chased us to Longview and wreaked havoc there. Trees on houses no power. We had to fill the bathtubs in the motel up. On the bottom floor they had to stuff the towels under the doors to try to stop the water. On the second floor it just blew in. I am very glad there will be inland hurricane warnings.

But my wildest ride was Humberto. In a trailer. Two gigantic pines in the backyard. When the lightning flashed we could see them bending scraping one end of the house. We went to the other end. That was terrifying enough. I can't imagine Rita. Ike took down the second biggest pine. The tree company took down the other this past March. That made us very popular with the neighbors. The last of the giants are still coming down. But as you said not a whole lot left.
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Jessica Watson 'was never going to be youngest solo sailor''

JESSICA Watson's management says the teen knew she would not be eligible to get a world record for the youngest solo sailor - because it no longer exists.

But they say nothing will detract from the solo sailor inspiring achievement when she finally completes her round-the-world voyage in mid-May.

The record for the youngest person to sail round the world sailor, as ratified by the World Speed Sailing Racing Council (WSSRC), was abolished in the lead-up to Jessica heading off on her extraordinary quest last October.

The standing record belongs to Jessica's great supporter and inspiration Jesse Martin.

"Technically Jesse Martin's record will never beaten,'' her management said.

"Jessica approached the WSSRC last year and the advice she was given was quite simple. To do a southern hemisphere circumnavigation and sail around the world, she was required to start and return from the same port, cross all meridian of longitude and cross the equator.

"She's ticked all those boxes.''

When Jessica sails down Sydney Harbour at the end of an adventure which has captured the nation's imagination, she will also have covered about 23,000 nautical miles, survived hurricane-force winds, monster 12m swells, thick fog, violent electric storms, bone-jarring seas and having her yacht knocked over on its side six times.

"Jessica has sailed the most challenging and treacherous oceans of the world, passing the four capes (Cape Horn, Cape Agulhas, Cape Leeuwin and the Cape of SE Tasmania) and crossed the equator twice," her management said.

"She has sailed around the world, non-stop, solo, unassisted and when she completes the voyage, she will be the youngest to have done that, sailing almost 23,000 nautical miles in the process. We have official TracPlus data to confirm Jessica’s exact distance upon her return, which currently sits at 22,335 nautical miles.

"Please note that Jesse Martin (current youngest to sail solo around the world unassisted) and the UK’s Mike Perham (current youngest to sail around the world solo, assisted) will both be at the finish line in Sydney to congratulate Jessica when she arrives.

"We are pleased to be able to formally respond to this now and hope this clarifies any concerns from her supporters.

"We feel Jessica has every right to enjoy the impending accolades and celebrate being the youngest person to sail solo around the world, non-stop and unassisted, when she sails back into Sydney Harbour on the weekend of 15-16 May. ''
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15962
Jey guys so what with the Tropical waves and check out this low
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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.

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