Record Atlantic SSTs continue in the hurricane Main Development Region

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:03 PM GMT on May 15, 2010

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Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) in the Atlantic's Main Development Region for hurricanes had their warmest April on record, according to an analysis of historical SST data from the UK Hadley Center. SST data goes back to 1850, though there is much missing data before 1910 and during WWI and WWII. The area between 10°N and 20°N, between the coast of Africa and Central America (20°W - 80°W), is called the Main Development Region (MDR) because virtually all African waves originate in this region. These African waves account for 85% of all Atlantic major hurricanes and 60% of all named storms. When SSTs in the MDR are much above average during hurricane season, a very active season typically results (if there is no El Niño event present.) SSTs in the Main Development Region (10°N to 20°N and 20°W to 85°W) were an eye-opening 1.46°C above average during April. This is the third straight record warm month, and the warmest anomaly measured for any month--by a remarkable 0.2°C. The previous record warmest anomalies for the Atlantic MDR were set in June 2005 and March 2010, at 1.26°C.


Figure 1. The departure of sea surface temperature (SST) from average for May 13, 2010. Image credit: NOAA/NESDIS.

What is responsible for the high SSTs?
As I explained in detail in a post on record February SSTs in the Atlantic, the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and its close cousin, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), are largely to blame for the record SSTs. The AO and NAO are climate patterns in the North Atlantic Ocean related to fluctuations in the difference of sea-level pressure between the Icelandic Low and the Azores-Bermuda High. If the difference in sea-level pressure between Iceland and the Azores is small (negative NAO), this creates a weak Azores-Bermuda High, which reduces the trade winds circulating around the High. During December - February, we had the most negative AO/NAO since records began in 1950, and this caused trade winds between Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands in the hurricane Main Development Region to slow to 1 - 2 m/s (2.2 - 4.5 mph) below average. Slower trade winds mean less mixing of the surface waters with cooler waters down deep, plus less evaporational cooling of the surface water. As a result, the ocean heated up significantly, relative to normal, over the winter. Negative AO/NAO conditions have been dominant much of this spring as well, resulting in further anomalous heating of the MDR waters. This heating is superimposed on the very warm global SSTs we've been seeing over the past few decades due to global warming. Global and Northern Hemisphere SSTs were the 2nd warmest on record this past December, January, and February, the warmest on record in March, and will likely be classified as the warmest or second warmest on record for April, since NASA just classified April as the warmest April on record for the globe. We are also in the warm phase of a decades-long natural oscillation in Atlantic ocean temperatures called the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO). This warm phase began in 1995, and has been partially responsible for the high levels of hurricane activity we've seen since 1995.

What does this imply for the coming hurricane season?
The high April SST anomaly does not bode well for the coming hurricane season. The three past seasons with record warm April SST anomalies all had abnormally high numbers of intense hurricanes. Past hurricane seasons that had high March SST anomalies include 1969 (0.90°C anomaly), 2005 (1.19°C anomaly), and 1958 (0.97°C anomaly). These three years had 5, 7, and 5 intense hurricanes, respectively. Just two intense hurricanes occur in an average year. The total averaged activity for the three seasons was 15 named storms, 11 hurricanes, and 6 intense hurricanes (an average hurricane season has 10, 6, and 2.) Both 1958 and 2005 saw neutral El Niño conditions, while 1969 had a weak El Niño.

The SSTs are already as warm as we normally see in July between Africa and the Caribbean, and we have a very July-like tropical wave approaching the Lesser Antilles Islands this weekend. However, wind shear is still seasonably high, and the tropical waves coming off of Africa are still too far south to have much of a chance of developing. The GFS model is indicating that shear will start to drop over the Caribbean the last week of May, so we may have to be on the watch for tropical storms forming in the Caribbean then.

For those of you interested in a more detailed look at the early season tropical weather outlook, consult the excellent wunderblogs of StormW and Weather456. I'll be back with a new post on Monday.

Jeff Masters

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Volcanic ash update.

Latest information from the Icelandic Met Office indicates that the Eyjafjallajokull volcano continues to erupt. It is estimated that the current height of the ash plume is still between 23000 and 26000 ft (7 to 8 km), with extremes at 29500 feet (9 km). Following the spread of the plume southeastwards, there were numerous reports received during Sunday. These ranged from a milky sky in South Uist, smells of sulphur near Newcastle, visible ash clouds observed (from the both the ground and the air) in the skies above northern England, and at the end of Sunday of ash deposits in Waddington and Conningsby. Issued at 0252 on Mon 17 May 2010.



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Looks like the Farmers Almanac has a chance to go 1 for 1 starting the season. They predict heavy rains for the SE around the , possibly a tropical cyclone.



May 2010

16th-19th. Clearing.
20th-23rd. Showers along Gulf Coast into Florida, then clearing.
24th-27th. Heavy rains. Possible tropical weather system.
28th-31st. Clearing for holiday weekend.
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1217. Patrap
CAt 3 at Landfall..pushing a CAt-5 surge,

The SSS isnt the tell all for a Storm..

Id stick to Catcrackers...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129841
Looks like we have a consensus on a Tropical Cyclone developing in the Caribbean.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
400 yr storm would end NOLA, it wouldn't exist anymore once and for all.
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Quoting TexasGulf:
From an earlier posting about N.O. levees:
"Construction of the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal surge barrier is on track and should be completed by its June 2011 deadline" "...which is one way the corps plans on protecting some of the region's most vulnerable areas from surges created by so-called "100-year" storms, or hurricanes with a 1 percent chance of occurring each year."

"Despite the size of the barrier, Walsh said it does not take away all the risk of storms like Katrina, which had 30-foot waves. Katrina was considered a 400-year event in studies of its effects conducted by corps scientists."

1. Since when is Katrina a 400-year event for the N.O. area? A Katrina sized storm happens to impact S.E. Louisiana once every 50-years.

2. If Katrina is a 400-year storm... and your levees are being designed for protection from a 100-year storm, then wouldn't another Katrina sized storm overtop the levees again and devestate N.O.?

3. If Katrina was a Once-Per-400-Year Storm, can they give us an example of a 100-year storm that the levees were designed for? (I would bet their 100-year storms actually occur every 25-years I.M.H.O.)



lol 400 yr storm. It was a cat 3 at landfall
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1213. Drakoen
In the same spot the GFS 06z shows:

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Quoting Chucktown:


This Thursday the 20th.


Thanks for the clarification, I knew it was around that date.
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Good Morning everyone :O)! A snapshot from a few minutes ago of "Little E, the PO'd Volcano". This thing just keeps going and going!!
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Quoting Bonedog:
The NOAA report on forecast of slick has it in the loop current within 24hrs =(

Looking at the Response website maps its in the Loop =(

Basically after this weeks bad(not strong but unfavorable) winds the Gulf is totally screwed.

BTW the sippy straw they stuck in the pipe is a total joke. I honestly believe BP is trying to figure out how to make the well viable and a producer instead of capping it at this point. Everything we have seen them throw at the spill has been to save the oil not cap the well. I have seen on several industry blogs where industry folks have asked why no new riser pipe has been reinstalled and connected to another BOP. Apparently this is something they have done in the past when BOPs have failed mechanically.




Seen that on the news yesterday that it was getting really close. :-(

Key's & East Coast may have a rather crappy summer @ the beach, in addition to those already experiencing the slick. Almost a sure thing it reaches the beaches on the east coast with daily stiff winds toward the coast.
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1209. Skyepony (Mod)
Hostile sheer in the Caribbean..note the rising shear over the want to be blob..

Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 225 Comments: 39374
1208. Drakoen
Haven't seen this posted, the NOGAPS is forecasting for a tropical cyclone to form in the southern Caribbean:

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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:



I think it's May 28th or around that date. They don't issue any pre-season forecast, only the actual June starting forecast. I am interested to see their numbers as the parameters to date are rather ominous.


This Thursday the 20th.
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a story on CNN had this comment from a man in Alabama.

"Every summer, thousands of fish rise to the surface of Mobile Bay. It's a rare phenomenon known as a jubilee, and locals are worried about it. One resident says the leaking oil well should be plugged with BP execs."

What a thought!
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1205. Patrap
Quoting TexasGulf:
From an earlier posting about N.O. levees:
"Construction of the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal surge barrier is on track and should be completed by its June 2011 deadline" "...which is one way the corps plans on protecting some of the region's most vulnerable areas from surges created by so-called "100-year" storms, or hurricanes with a 1 percent chance of occurring each year."

"Despite the size of the barrier, Walsh said it does not take away all the risk of storms like Katrina, which had 30-foot waves. Katrina was considered a 400-year event in studies of its effects conducted by corps scientists."

1. Since when is Katrina a 400-year event for the N.O. area? A Katrina sized storm happens to impact S.E. Louisiana once every 50-years.

2. If Katrina is a 400-year storm... and your levees are being designed for protection from a 100-year storm, then wouldn't another Katrina sized storm overtop the levees again and devestate N.O.?

3. If Katrina was a Once-Per-400-Year Storm, can they give us an example of a 100-year storm that the levees were designed for? (I would bet their 100-year storms actually occur every 25-years I.M.H.O.)



Their?



Fascinataing..but way off the tru mark easily.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129841
Quoting A4Guy:
Anyone know when NOAA/NHC is going to release their early seasonal forecast?



I think it's May 28th or around that date. They don't issue any pre-season forecast, only the actual June starting forecast. I am interested to see their numbers as the parameters to date are rather ominous.
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From an earlier posting about N.O. levees:
"Construction of the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal surge barrier is on track and should be completed by its June 2011 deadline" "...which is one way the corps plans on protecting some of the region's most vulnerable areas from surges created by so-called "100-year" storms, or hurricanes with a 1 percent chance of occurring each year."

"Despite the size of the barrier, Walsh said it does not take away all the risk of storms like Katrina, which had 30-foot waves. Katrina was considered a 400-year event in studies of its effects conducted by corps scientists."

1. Since when is Katrina a 400-year event for the N.O. area? A Katrina sized storm happens to impact S.E. Louisiana once every 50-years.

2. If Katrina is a 400-year storm... and your levees are being designed for protection from a 100-year storm, then wouldn't another Katrina sized storm overtop the levees again and devestate N.O.?

3. If Katrina was a Once-Per-400-Year Storm, can they give us an example of a 100-year storm that the levees were designed for? (I would bet their 100-year storms actually occur every 25-years I.M.H.O.)

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1200. Skyepony (Mod)
That front has turned the surface current more toward the Gulf stream..
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 225 Comments: 39374
1198. Seastep
Quoting Patrap:
NASA: Easily the hottest April — and hottest Jan-April — in temperature record
Plus a new record 12-month global temperature, as predicted


Satellite says otherwise. Not even close, really. Apr 1998 was +0.76. Apr 2009 was +0.50.

Even more reason to completely discount the NASA surface station data set. Just not enough true coverage and too much interpolation. So satellite (completely objective and no comparison in terms of coverage), says over 33% lower temp for April 2010 vs. Apr 1998, but GISS says 25% higher than Apr 1998. Doesn't jibe. That's a huge swing. Both cannot be right.

Just saying. But, hey, folks can continue to go by subjective, low coverage sources. Sat only for me.

UAH

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there is an outbreak of botulism among livestock in TN post flood. that is sad.
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1195. Patrap
Oil well...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129841
1194. A4Guy
Anyone know when NOAA/NHC is going to release their early seasonal forecast?
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1193. Bonedog
Exactly chicklit. Its unfortunate really. The ecological damage from this catastrophe will be felt for many many years and the toxicity in the wildlife I feel wont be realized for a long time either.

Its something I never thought I would say but...

Pretty soon the coastal waters of NJ will be healthier than the GOM =(

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BTW the sippy straw they stuck in the pipe is a total joke. I honestly believe BP is trying to figure out how to make the well viable and a producer instead of capping it at this point. Everything we have seen them throw at the spill has been to save the oil not cap the well. I have seen on several industry blogs where industry folks have asked why no new riser pipe has been reinstalled and connected to another BOP. Apparently this is something they have done in the past when BOPs have failed mechanically -- Bonedog

BP has zero credibility at this point.
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1190. Skyepony (Mod)
Yesterday I discussed a storm forming on the coast of GA & Carolinas then rolling up the NE, over the next 3 days. Chances are looking better & better. GFS has just begun to notice. Shifted way west & strengthened it. CMC pulled it together more & shifted it slightly west (as I expected yesterday). Really nailing MA, RI..the ones sticking out into the water there. We still may see a little shift west. I'll go with a 45% chance of a significant event for the NE..65% chance for RI & the coastal areas hanging out there.

Beginning to think we have an outside chance of a EPAC storm forming this week.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 225 Comments: 39374
If this keeps up much longer, we'll have to rename the Gulf of Mexico The Dead Gulf.

BP = Big Polluter of Biblical Proportion

I'll wager a bet that Jeff's next blog will be on the leakage of oil into the loop eddy and also the destruction of the floor of the GOM.

Islands in the Stream is a beautiful name isn't it?
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1188. Ossqss
For anyone interested, NatGeoTV, on Tuesday the 18th 8pm EST will have a replay of Storm World, Cosmic Fire. Based upon the info below. It was quite, well.... enlightening :)

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/06may_carringtonflare/

THE 1859 SOLAR–TERRESTRIAL DISTURBANCE AND THE
CURRENT LIMITS OF EXTREME SPACE WEATHER ACTIVITY Solar Physics (2004) 224: 407–422


and the Doc's take!

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1206&tstamp=&page=9
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8188
Good morning gang!!!

Anything exciting happening yet?

We finally got some much needed rain here in SeTx after about 6 weeks of nothing!
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1186. Bonedog
The NOAA report on forecast of slick has it in the loop current within 24hrs =(

Looking at the Response website maps its in the Loop =(

Basically after this weeks bad(not strong but unfavorable) winds the Gulf is totally screwed.

BTW the sippy straw they stuck in the pipe is a total joke. I honestly believe BP is trying to figure out how to make the well viable and a producer instead of capping it at this point. Everything we have seen them throw at the spill has been to save the oil not cap the well. I have seen on several industry blogs where industry folks have asked why no new riser pipe has been reinstalled and connected to another BOP. Apparently this is something they have done in the past when BOPs have failed mechanically.

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1185. JRRP

niña??
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From bad to worse with the BP spill:

Deep sea oil plumes, dispersants endanger reefs
By JASON DEAREN and MATT SEDENSKY (AP) – 54 minutes ago

NEW ORLEANS — The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has already spewed plumes over ecologically sensitive reefs, part of a stalled marine sanctuary proposal that would restrict drilling in a large swath of the northern part of the vital waterway.

Marine scientists fear that two powerful Gulf currents will carry the oil to other reefs. The eastward flowing loop current could spread it about 450 miles to the Florida Keys, while the Louisiana coastal current could move the oil as far west as central Texas.

The depth of the gushing leaks and the use of more than 560,000 gallons of chemicals to disperse the oil, including unprecedented injections deep in the sea, have helped keep the crude beneath the sea surface. Marine scientists say diffusing and sinking the oil helps protect the surface species and the Gulf Coast shoreline but increases the chance of harming deep-sea reefs, which are seen as bellwethers for sea health.

"At first we had a lot of concern about surface animals like turtles, whales and dolphins," said Paul Montagna, a marine biologist at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi who studies Gulf reefs. "Now we're concerned about everything."

On Sunday, researchers said computer models show oil has already entered the loop current that could carry the toxic goo toward the Keys, the third-longest barrier reef in the world.

The oil is now over the western edge of a roughly 61-mile expanse of 300-to-500-foot-deep reef south of Louisiana known as the Pinnacles, about 25 miles north of where Transocean Ltd.'s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 people and starting the spill that grows by the hour. BP PLC operated the rig.

The Pinnacles is one of nine coral banks and hard-bottom areas stretching from Texas to Florida that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tried in 2008 to get designated a marine sanctuary called Islands in the Stream.
This sanctuary would have restricted fishing and oil drilling around the identified reef "islands." But the plan was put on hold after vehement objections from Republican lawmakers, fishermen and the oil industry.

Scientists have found undersea plumes of oil at the spill as much as 10 miles long, which are an unprecedented danger to the deep sea environment, said Samantha Joye, a professor of marine sciences at the University of Georgia.

These plumes are being eaten by microbes thousands of feet deep, which removes oxygen from the water.

"Deepwater coral are abundant on the sea floor in this part of the Gulf, and they need oxygen," said Joye, who was involved in the plume discovery. "Without it, they can't survive."
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1183. Patrap
ESL by LSU


COSMO-Skymed Oil Spill Image from CSTARS, May 16, 2010
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129841
Dr. Masters, I'm sure, will let us know the scoop about the loop current.

By the way, check out Hurricane456's comprehensive analysis on renewable energy options for the Caribbean in today's blog.\

Nice rain this morning in ECFL.
Have the best day possible everyone.
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From an AP story this morning:
...a computer model shows oil has already entered the loop current, while a second shows the oil is 3 miles from it -- still dangerously close. The models are based on weather, ocean current and spill data from the U.S. Navy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, among other sources

...The final choice to end the leak is a relief well, but it is more than two months from completion.

Top officials in President Barack Obama's administration cautioned that the tube "is not a solution."

"We will not rest until BP permanently seals the wellhead, the spill is cleaned up, and the communities and natural resources of the Gulf Coast are restored and made whole," Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said in a joint statement.


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1180. Patrap
BP says tube taking out one-fifth of oil leaking from well blowout



by Jeffrey Collins and Jason Dearen / The Associated Press

wwltv.com

Posted on May 17, 2010 at 6:55 AM

Updated today at 7:36 AM


NEW ORLEANS -- BP said Monday it was siphoning more than one-fifth of the oil that has been spewing into the Gulf for almost a month, as worries escalated that the ooze may reach a major ocean current that could carry it through the Florida Keys and up the East Coast.

BP PLC chief operating officer Doug Suttles said Monday on NBC's "Today" that a mile-long tube was funneling a little more than 1,000 barrels -- 42,000 gallons -- of crude a day from a blown well into a tanker ship. The company and the U.S. Coast Guard have estimated about 5,000 barrels -- 210,000 gallons -- have been spewing out each day.

Engineers finally got the contraption working on Sunday after weeks of failed solutions -- however, millions of gallons of oil are already in the Gulf of Mexico.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129841
1177. hydrus
Quoting aspectre:
aquak9
"Trop storm- knocks over a beer bottle
cat 1- knocks over a six pack
cat 2- knocks over a case
cat 3- blows away a keg
cat 4- knocks over a semi-truck full of beer
cat 5- blows away semi-truck full of beer
Not taking storm surge into account, obviously
..."

hydrus "How did you find this out? Hurricane party?..:) "

Compare the Saffir-Simpson Cat. speeds with the damage parameters on the enhancedFujitaScale

And in case CycloneOz missed the rollover risk...
Beer is so precious. I will use the proper equations to build shelters specifically for protecting this vital liquid. It is life itself...lol
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Quoting TampaSpin:
aquak9
"Trop storm- knocks over a beer bottle
cat 1- knocks over a six pack
cat 2- knocks over a case
cat 3- blows away a keg
cat 4- knocks over a semi-truck full of beer
cat 5- blows away semi-truck full of beer
Not taking storm surge into account, obviously..."


Everyone needs this for the Tropical Season....





AMEN to that!! :)
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aquak9
"Trop storm- knocks over a beer bottle
cat 1- knocks over a six pack
cat 2- knocks over a case
cat 3- blows away a keg
cat 4- knocks over a semi-truck full of beer
cat 5- blows away semi-truck full of beer
Not taking storm surge into account, obviously..."


Everyone needs this for the Tropical Season....



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Quoting hurricanejunky:


No problem Matt. Glad you made it safely. Oh, don't worry we know all about flat here in South FL! Be safe and keep us posted...


Haha yeah forgot about that ;)

I am headed to a starbucks now to get some coffee and internet, did jeff and tampa spin get their coffee yet?
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Quoting hurricanejunky:


No problem Matt. Glad you made it safely. Oh, don't worry we know all about flat here in South FL! Be safe and keep us posted...


Haha yeah forgot about that ;)

I am headed to a starbucks now to get some coffee and internet, did jeff and tampa spin get their coffee yet?
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Clearly a SUB-tropical system, look how much symmetric warm core it has, then look at the shallow area.. Notce it turn fully tropical in the end lol, course it's a dream storm.. Would be surprising if this does turn out to be true.
BTW, the storm starts out as a cold cored system. It takes a few days as the model shows for it to transition to warm core.
Link
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Quoting tornadodude:
Good morning all!

I am currently in Amarillo, Texas right now, just had a decent storm come through about an hour ago.

I look to be in a pretty good location for today and especially tomorrow. On wednesday, I will be going back into Oklahoma. I look for the SPC to issue a moderate risk outlook for wednesday.

Anyway, we hopefully caught some great footage of a tornadic supercell on the south side of Oklahoma City yesterday. We were guided by CycloneOz, Hurricane Junky, and a few others so thanks!!

I haven't yet had time to review our video from the storm yesterday, but I know we got a wall cloud and probably the funnel cloud on video.

Btw, it is stinkin flat out here!!


No problem Matt. Glad you made it safely. Oh, don't worry we know all about flat here in South FL! Be safe and keep us posted...
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aquak9
"Trop storm- knocks over a beer bottle
cat 1- knocks over a six pack
cat 2- knocks over a case
cat 3- blows away a keg
cat 4- knocks over a semi-truck full of beer
cat 5- blows away semi-truck full of beer
Not taking storm surge into account, obviously
..."

hydrus "How did you find this out? Hurricane party?..:) "

Compare the Saffir-Simpson Cat. speeds with the damage parameters on the enhancedFujitaScale

And in case CycloneOz missed the rollover risk...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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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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