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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Those are the Guys who are gonna get er done..

Good luck.

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Interesting wave around 35˚W to 40˚W. On the un-bright side it is showing persistent convection and good 850MB vorticity. On the bright side it is highly associated with the ITCZ and it is under 50 to 60 knots of shear. I don't expect any development of this system but it is a cool little feature to point out.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
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Cleanup work a lifeline for out-of-work fishermen

These are scary times for Plaquemines fishermen. It’s the point where the shrimp season is about to start. But with the oil spill hovering off the coast, and some areas already closed, boats now sit at the dock.
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219. beell
The Drillship "Dicoverer Enterprise" did not have to travel far. Workin' just a few "blocks" away.

sailwx.com
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Oil Spill progression. May 2, 2010:

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
5 p.m. update - Pensacola Coastal preparation:
91,000+ ft containment boom placed;
30,000 ft on order
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Quoting Patrap:
atmo,..is dat yer car on the right?

You moonlighting with BP arent ya?

LOL!
Quoting Patrap:


Its just a source tag atmo..

Fresca?

The TransOcean IT Guy is from Eunice,La.

I hope they aren't really doing anything there...would be a bit silly. Yeah, just a tag...(still weird, you ever been to Robert? Power goes out every time a wind better than 15 knots blows a pine branch down...and all there is there are pine trees)
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Wasn't Katrina downgraded to Cat. 3 landfall by the NHC?
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TCHP in the Caribbean continues to grow.. now at the 120 kj mark.

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Its just a source tag atmo..

Fresca?

The TransOcean IT Guy is from Eunice,La.


TransOcean/www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com
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atmo,..is dat yer car on the right?

You moonlighting with BP arent ya?
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Quoting spotted123:
Atmo, I am not sure I understood your ? about Robert,LA but Shell has a huge training center there and I believe that's where the Oil spill responce is headquartered. Sorry if that was not your question!

Okay, the Shell training center is in the Robert I know. But it doesn't make any sense to build or transport the "solution" from there, nor the relief well drilling rig. Robert is not actually on any coast...the closest water is the NW corner of Lake Pontchartrain. A day's drive, easily, to get to the mouth of the river.

They must be sourcing those images from there...but not really moving things from all the way up there.

Google maps for Robert, LA
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Yeppars,,dat be da place..

Only one Robert,La.

Shell Robert Training & Conference Center


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208. beell
This is frame 17 in the gallery.
16 through 18, the most recent (yesterday).

Oil Slick-CSTARS Synthetic Aperture RADAR Monday, May 3, 2010/23:57 UTC
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Atmo, I am not sure I understood your ? about Robert,LA but Shell has a huge training center there and I believe that's where the Oil spill responce is headquartered. Sorry if that was not your question!
Quoting atmoaggie:
Okay, Pat, why do those all say "Robert, LA"?

I know it isn't the Robert, LA in Tangipahoa...right?
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I have updated my blog, please feel welcomed to read and comment on your opinions.

Link
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Quoting Patrap:
One can call and find out atmo,,maybe itsa "Row-bear"

Heh, I would say it like that wherever it is...

It would make no sense for them to be doing that in Tangi, though.
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HOMEPORT NOLA
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One can call and find out atmo,,maybe itsa "Row-bear" down near Venice.


DATE: May 04, 2010 12:31:27 CST
Media Advisory: Unified Area Command Subject Matter Experts to hold conference call from Robert, La.

* Report oiled shoreline or request volunteer information:
(866)-448-5816
* Submit alternative response technology, services or products:
(281) 366-5511
* Submit your vessel as a vessel of opportunity skimming system:
(281) 366-5511
* Submit a claim for damages:
(800) 440-0858
* Report oiled wildlife:
(866) 557-1401
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The Key wording is,..

Hurricane forecasters said today they are tweaking the Saffir-Simpson Scale and will no longer tie specific storm surge and flooding impacts to categories.

They announced that pre Seasonally some time back..

Thanks for the reminder.


Surge is relative to the Specific Storm Size and many other values as well.

A Big Cat 3 =4 can have a greater Value in Surge than a Small,Cat-5.

AKA Katrina vs Camille.

Katrina was a Large ,wide,,large circumference Cat=4 at Landfall,where as Camille was a Small Cat=5 with a Tight wind field.

Camille had the smaller surge and did the damage in mostly one area,as Katrina affected 3 States.
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Okay, Pat, why do those all say "Robert, LA"?

I know it isn't the Robert, LA in Tangipahoa...right?
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Most motorcycle helmet standards use impacts at speeds between 4–7 m/s (9–16 mph). At first glance, this is confusing given that motorcyclists frequently ride at speeds higher than 20 m/s (45 mph). This confusion is relieved by understanding that the perpendicular impact speed of the helmet is usually not the same as the road speed of the motor cycle and that the severity of the impact is determined not only by the speed of the head but also by the nature of the surface it hits. For example, the surface of the road is almost parallel to the direction the motorcyclist moves in so only a small component of his velocity is directed perpendicular to the road while he is riding. Of course, other surfaces are perpendicular to the motorcyclist's velocity, such as trees, walls and the sides of other vehicles. The other vital factor in determining the severity of an impact is the nature of the surface struck. The sheet metal wall of a car door may bend inwards to a depth of 7.5–10 cm (3.0–3.9 in)ch) during a helmeted head impact, meaning that it generates more stopping distance for the rider's head than the helmet itself. So a perpendicular impact against a flat steel anvil at 5 m/s (11 mph) might be about as severe as a 30 m/s (67 mph) oblique impact against a concrete surface or a 30 m/s perpendicular impact against a sheet metal car door or windscreen. Overall, there is a very wide range of severity in the impacts that could conceivably happen in a motorcycle impact. Some of these are more severe than the impacts used in the standard tests and some are less so.
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How do I perform a test on the helmet at 155 mph?


very carefully....

;)
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Look what I found
Link
Apparently the NHC is removing the storm surge estimates from the Saffir Simpson scale
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
well we can always do another test this time without your head being in it just to make sure that helmet can withstand such an impact at 155 mph


How do I perform a test on the helmet at 155 mph? Drop it from a great height?
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Quoting CycloneOz:


I think my solution to the problem is sufficient. At least I hope so!
well we can always do another test this time without your head being in it just to make sure that helmet can withstand such an impact at 155 mph
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296



BP Oil Spill Incident Response Site

www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Response

Gulf of Mexico-Transocean Drilling Incident


DATE: May 03, 2010 21:59:42 CST
PHOTO RELEASE: Discoverer Enterprise drillship, Development Drill III

* Report oiled shoreline or request volunteer information:
(866)-448-5816
* Submit alternative response technology, services or products:
(281) 366-5511
* Submit your vessel as a vessel of opportunity skimming system:
(281) 366-5511
* Submit a claim for damages:
(800) 440-0858
* Report oiled wildlife:
(866) 557-1401






ROBERT, La. - The Transocean drillship, Discoverer Enterprise, prepares to conduct recovery operation for BP using a specially-built "dome" at the sea floor Monday, May 3, 2010. With the use of the dome and connection system to flow the leaking oil the crew of the Discoverer Enterprise will be capable of recovering up to 125,000 barrels of oil. Photo provided by Transocean.



ROBERT, La. - The Transocean drillship, Discoverer Enterprise, prepares to conduct recovery operation for BP using a specially-built "dome" at the sea floor Monday, May 3, 2010. With the use of the dome and connection system to flow the leaking oil the crew of the Discoverer Enterprise will be capable of recovering up to 125,000 barrels of oil. Photo provided by Transocean.





ROBERT, La. - The ultra-deepwater semisubmersible rig Development Drill III had begun operations for drilling a relief well Monday, May 3, 2010. A relief well is designed to drill down and intersect the existing well bore and pump heavy fluids and cement in to stop the leaking oil. Photo provided by Transocean.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
His nose will turn upside down and his left ear will switch places with his mouth. lol.


Don't forget "the pucker!"
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
we could say that was a cat one test we got a cat 2 test cat 3 test cat 4 test then finally a cat 5 test so if a got a black eye and a sore eye socket at cat 1 imagine what a cat 5 will do to your face


I think my solution to the problem is sufficient. At least I hope so!
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
we could say that was a cat one test we got a cat 2 test cat 3 test cat 4 test then finally a cat 5 test so if a got a black eye and a sore eye socket at cat 1 imagine what a cat 5 will do to your face
His nose will turn upside down and his left ear will switch places with his mouth. lol.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Good Evening!

If you look on satellite imagery south of Panama, you will see a broad area of convection. This area has been persistent with convection in the last 36 hours but its convection is being sucked by a ULL south of Cuba and west of Jamaica. What is surprising me is that this area has been stationary for at least 30 hours and it is not associated with the ITCZ because the ITCZ is north and west of it. No models showing any development but it is still an area of interest, because of warm SST's, low shear, and it also has pretty good 850MB vorticity.



*I will be updating my blog with more information on early season tropics if anyone is interested.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Quoting CycloneOz:


100 mph wasn't good enough?
we could say that was a cat one test we got a cat 2 test cat 3 test cat 4 test then finally a cat 5 test so if a got a black eye and a sore eye socket at cat 1 imagine what a cat 5 will do to your face
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting Dakster:
I've been following the oil spill and the proposed solutions to it.

I wonder if they have every tested a building that large down that deep and what makes them think it won't get crushed? 5,000 ft is roughly 152 atmospheres.


The Titanic wasn't crushed.
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I've been following the oil spill and the proposed solutions to it.

I wonder if they have every tested a building that large down that deep and what makes them think it won't get crushed? 5,000 ft is roughly 152 atmospheres.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
so when is the next 2by4 test and are you gonna try it at a 155 mph this time


100 mph wasn't good enough?
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the purple hippo has gained a few more magnificent fat folds...

;)
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POLO!!!!
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Quoting biff4ugo:
I found a couple of good estimate articles:

Drop in BP stock prices = a loss of 25 Billion for the company.

They can only be sued for 75 million before the Oil Spill Liability Trust fund kicks in and up to a max of 2.7 Billion.
But if they are penalized a years worth of profits in punitive damages that is 20 billion right there.
(conservative est. with lost production, 1.46, clean-up 8, penalties 2, legal fees 3, Lawsuits and settlements 20 =
34.5 billion (-1.6 drain the oil spill liability trust fund)
http://beforeitsnews.com/story/39459/BPs_oil_spill_costs_will_likely_exceed_30_billion.html
Total Cost:$33 billion


I have very little faith in that. I offer the penalties that were "actually" paid by exxon for wrecking 1200 miles of coastline.. that still twenty years later has not returned to the pristine state it was before the defilement.
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Quoting CycloneOz:
Here is an alert to my hurricane chasing team mates (& motorcycle riders will be interested, too)

My face and protecting it has become important to me due to recent hurricane suit testing events.

So after exhaustive study, I've decided to use a full-face helmet in conjunction with the following product:

http://www.myblueant.com/products/headsets/interphone/f4/interphone_features.php

Besides protecting my face, it is equally important to remain in constant communication with my ground support and news networks during a hurricane eye-wall intercept.

So I've chosen the above bluetooth product.

Check out the specs...and then get one for yourself.
so when is the next 2by4 test and are you gonna try it at a 155 mph this time
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting Grothar:


Glad to hear your taking care of yourself. I won't need one. If a Cat 5 heads for Ft. Lauderdale. I will probably be in Ontario. But thanks for thinking of us.
drop by for a visit
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting NRAamy:
eyes!

:)
How are you and the purple hippo
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Quoting Grothar:


Glad to hear your taking care of yourself. I won't need one. If a Cat 5 heads for Ft. Lauderdale. I will probably be in Ontario. But thanks for thinking of us.


Ft. Lauderdale...used to live in Plantation and Hollywood Beach.

The entire Gold Coast has near perfect chasing conditions, no matter the Category storm.

But yeah, if I wasn't chasing and a Cat 5 was coming ashore, I'd be gone, too.

And I wouldn't come back until power was restored.
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eyes!

:)
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Quoting CycloneOz:
Here is an alert to my hurricane chasing team mates (& motorcycle riders will be interested, too)

My face and protecting it has become important to me due to recent hurricane suit testing events.

So after exhaustive study, I've decided to use a full-face helmet in conjunction with the following product:

http://www.myblueant.com/products/headsets/interphone/f4/interphone_features.php

Besides protecting my face, it is equally important to remain in constant communication with my ground support and news networks during a hurricane eye-wall intercept.

So I've chosen the above bluetooth product.

Check out the specs...and then get one for yourself.


Glad to hear your taking care of yourself. I won't need one. If a Cat 5 heads for Ft. Lauderdale. I will probably be in Ontario. But thanks for thinking of us.
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Quoting Floodman:
Good times, eh, toontown?


I'm late responding, work just keeping getting in the way.

Its a lovely spring day here. The temperature is at freezing and the wind at 40 to 60 K.

And for summer vacation, we recently booked a trip to Alaska. I am seriously reconsidering that finely crafted decision.
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Groth sounds better...like a big, hairy viking...out for some fun...

;)
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Here is an alert to my hurricane chasing team mates (& motorcycle riders will be interested, too)

My face and protecting it has become important to me due to recent hurricane suit testing events.

So after exhaustive study, I've decided to use a full-face helmet in conjunction with the following product:

http://www.myblueant.com/products/headsets/interphone/f4/interphone_features.php

Besides protecting my face, it is equally important to remain in constant communication with my ground support and news networks during a hurricane eye-wall intercept.

So I've chosen the above bluetooth product.

Check out the specs...and then get one for yourself.
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Howdy Flood......You've got mail
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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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