Oil spill headed towards the Loop Current

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:01 PM GMT on May 17, 2010

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Recent satellite imagery and flight over-passes of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill confirm that a surface tendril of oil has become entrained into a southward-moving current that threatens to pull oil into the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current late this week. The Loop Current is an ocean current that transports warm Caribbean water through the Yucatan Channel between Cuba and Mexico. The current flows northward into the Gulf of Mexico, then loops southeastward just south of the Florida Keys (where it is called the Florida Current), and then along the west side of the western Bahamas. Here, the waters of the Loop Current flow northward along the U.S. coast and become the Gulf Stream. Once oil gets into the Loop Current, the 1 - 2 mph speed of the current should allow the oil to travel the 500 miles to the Florida Keys in 10 - 20 days. Portions of the Loop Current flow at speed up to 4 mph, so the transport could be faster.

Why is oil getting close to the Loop Current?
The winds over the oil spill location are offshore out of the northwest today, and offshore winds will continue intermittently through Wednesday, helping push the oil southwards towards the Loop Current. However, the major reason oil is moving southwards is because of the instability of the currents in the Gulf of Mexico. The Loop Current is not a stable feature, and tends to surge northwards and southwards in a chaotic fashion, and in response to changes in the prevailing winds. Over the past week, chaotic behavior of the Loop Current and a clockwise-rotating eddy just to its north, just south of the oil spill location, have combined to bring a current of southward-moving surface water to the oil spill location. As strong on-shore winds from the southeast slackened this past weekend, oil has been drawn southward towards the Loop Current. An examination of the latest NOAA trajectory forecasts and surface current forecasts reveals the possibility that this tendril of southward-moving oil could make it into the Loop Current late this week. It is highly uncertain how much oil might make it into the Loop Current, or how diluted it might get on its voyage to the Florida Keys next week. Southeast to east winds of 10 - 15 knots are expected to develop late this week and extend into early next week, which may be strong enough to impose a surface current that will prevent oil from getting into the Loop Current this month. I predict a 30% chance that oil will make it into the Loop Current in the next two weeks.


Figure 1. Forecast made at 8pm EDT Sunday May 16, 2010, of the Gulf of Mexico currents by NOAA's HYCOM model. A persistent southward flowing surface current is predicted to occur this week between the oil spill location (red dot) and the Loop Current. Image credit: NOAA.

Likely areas of impact once oil gets into the Loop Current
Based on a study of 194 floating probes released into the Northeast Gulf of Mexico during a 1-year study in the 1990s (Figure 2), the west coast of Florida from Tampa Bay southwards to the Everglades is at minimal risk of receiving oil from surface currents. There is a "forbidden zone" off the southwest Florida coast where the shape of the coast, bottom configuration, and prevailing winds all act to create upwelling and surface currents that tend to take water away from the coast. This study implies that the greatest risk of land impacts by surface oil caught in the Loop Current is along the ocean side of the Florida Keys, and along the coast of Southeast Florida from Miami to West Palm Beach. Eddies breaking away from the Gulf Stream would also likely bring oil to northwest Cuba, the western Bahamas, and the U.S. East Coast as far north as Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, though at lesser concentrations. Southwest Florida cannot rest entirely, though--the "forbidden zone" is only true for surface waters, and there is onshore flow below the surface. Since recent ship measurements have detected substantial plumes of oil beneath the surface, southwest Florida might be at risk if one of these plumes gets entrained into the Loop Current. These subsurface plumes were also detected by current probes launched into the oil spill on May 8 by one of NOAA's hurricane hunter aircraft, according to one scientist I spoke to at last week's AMS hurricane conference. There are plans for the Hurricane Hunters to go out again tomorrow and drop more probes into the spill to attempt to get a better handle on where the oil is and where the currents are taking it.


Figure 2. Paths of 194 floating probes released into the yellow-outlined area in the northeast Gulf of Mexico between February 1996 and February 1997 as part of a study by the Mineral Management Service (MMS). The probes were all launched into waters with depth between 20 and 60 meters. Image credit: Yang, H., R.H. Weisberga, P.P. Niilerb, W. Sturgesc, and W. Johnson, 1999, Lagrangian circulation and forbidden zone on the West Florida Shelf, Continental Shelf Research Volume 19, Issue 9, July 1999, Pages 1221-1245 doi:10.1016/S0278-4343(99)00021-7

When will a Loop Current eddy break off?
Every 6 - 11 months, the looped portion of the Loop Current cuts off into a clockwise-rotating ring of water that then slowly drifts west-southwest towards Texas. When one of these rings breaks off at the peak of hurricane season, it provides a source of heat energy capable of providing fuel for rapid intensification of any hurricanes that might cross over. The Loop Current is not predicted to shed an ring over the next month, as predicted by the latest 1-month forecast from the U.S. Navy. However, the last eddy broke off in July of 2009, ten month ago, and it is unusual for the Loop Current to go more than eleven months without shedding an eddy. I expect we'll see the Loop Current shed an eddy in July or August, just in time to pose the maximum threat for hurricane season. According to an interesting February 2004 article published by offshore-engineer.com, reliable forecasts of these currents and eddies are not available yet. Keep in mind that surface currents are largely driven by winds, and wind forecasts are not reliable out more than about 10 days.

References
Yang, H., R.H. Weisberga, P.P. Niilerb, W. Sturgesc, and W. Johnson, 1999, Lagrangian circulation and forbidden zone on the West Florida Shelf, Continental Shelf Research Volume 19, Issue 9, July 1999, Pages 1221-1245 doi:10.1016/S0278-4343(99)00021-7.

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284. stillwaiting
9:08 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting Weather456:


The ECMWF intensifies the feature and retrograde back to Florida.

The GFS takes it out to sea.

The system retrogrades back west under a blocking ridge.

Similar scenario to Andrea 2007

It weakens the SW Caribbean disturbance as it heads towards Hispaniola






THis scenerio would be horrible as the flow around the low would push alot of oil towards florida's west coast,this split trough/transition to TD then moving towards the SE coast seems like a feasable solution,IMO
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
283. hydrus
8:41 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting stormhank:
I will go with an ACE index of 150...that would seem to average out 16 8 4 ? anyones input appreciated
I believe your numbers are realistic to say the least. I waited until May-15 to make a prediction. I came up with 15/10/5 with 3 of the major hurricanes becoming cat-5,s.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20541
282. stormhank
8:25 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
I will go with an ACE index of 150...that would seem to average out 16 8 4 ? anyones input appreciated
Member Since: September 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1385
281. xcool
8:00 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
new blog
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15626
279. xcool
7:49 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
16-7-4
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15626
278. reedzone
7:46 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting StormW:


Afternoon StormW!
Could you discuss what the models are showing with the potential hybrid low?
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
275. stormhank
7:42 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Is Im not mistaken 2008 seems to fall in the number of storms Im predicting for this season 16 8 4... Anyone else in here made a prediction yet? Always interesting to see others numbers..
Member Since: September 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1385
274. Levi32
7:41 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting Drakoen:


Looking at that there are no frontal characteristics but looking at this the 850mb temps on the western side of the system are cooler than on the eastern side.



It's not baroclinic when the surface low is stacked directly below the 500mb low.



Most of the cooler 850mb temps in the region are a reflection of the surface temps which are cooler due to cooler SSTs. Earlier maps, such as at 168 hours, show no such appearance of cold advection on the western side:

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26564
273. Floodman
7:39 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting JamesSA:


How do you interpret this "feature" streaming to the southeast from that oil spill?

It could be a thin rainbow sheen film on the surface reflecting the sun glint.

But, if you enlarge the photo and examine i closely, it appears to be showing an UNDERWATER plume of dispersant laden oil that has been picked up the loop current. That would be a much more serious development.

Any thoughts on this?


In looking at the image you posted and the links to much larger images of the same area posted by PAt (Thanks, Pat!) it sure doesn't look like "sheen", at least not at the SE portion of the plume...
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
272. CybrTeddy
7:39 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Hello all! Seems GFS and the Euro have an Andrea like system off Florida per the discussion above.. will be interesting to see what comes to play. Its amazing that Tampa's post 223 shows that the E Caribbean can support a 900 mb system in May..
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23627
271. Drakoen
7:39 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
New Blog
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29934
270. Hurricanes101
7:39 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
yea it seems the GFS and ECMWF are painting completely different features

The GFS shows something more frontal in nature moving north and eventually northeast or absorb

The ECMWF shows something much more tropical in nature and a building ridge
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7397
269. CaribBoy
7:39 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Good afternoon


Here is the "looking ahead" part of the latest San juan NWS discussion, I found it interesting and the last sentance even made me smile :


LOOKING AHEAD...STILL APPEARS THAT BRIEF OVERALL DRYING "MAY"
OCCUR FOR THE SECOND PART OF WEDNESDAY THROUGH EARLY THURSDAY...
BEFORE MOISTURE INCREASES AGAIN LATER THURSDAY THROUGH FRIDAY AND
BEYOND...WITH THE "POTENTIAL" FOR AT LEAST A COUPLE MORE DAYS OF
ACTIVE WEATHER AND "POTENTIAL" HEAVY RAINFALL AND FLOODING...
ESPECIALLY AS WE TRANSITION INTO LATE IN THE WEEK AND THE UPCOMING
WEEKEND. IT IS MAY IN THE NORTHEAST CARIBBEAN. STAY TUNED.



Promising. Things will need to be monitored for possible rain events.
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5988
268. IKE
7:38 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Prognostic discussions...from today...
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
267. Cavin Rawlins
7:38 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting Drakoen:


See Levi's post 254.

And that diagram proves my point that they can be symmetric.


ok, the genesis of warm seclusion are the same for both phase though. I do not think this will be a warm seclusion.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
266. Drakoen
7:37 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting Weather456:


I don't understand, that basically illustrates what I just pointed out except they also found in the tropical cyclone phase.


See Levi's post 254.

And that diagram proves my point that they can be symmetric.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29934
265. futuremet
7:37 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting Weather456:


The ECMWF intensifies the feature and retrograde back to Florida.

The GFS takes it out to sea.

The system retrogrades back west under a blocking ridge.

Similar scenario to Andrea 2007

It weakens the SW Caribbean disturbance as it heads towards Hispaniola



The ECMWF also seems to be developing the ridge of more aggressively the GFS. During the 00z and the 06z runs, the GFS was more in consensus with the ECMWF. The 12z GFS is pointing out a different scenario.



Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051
264. Drakoen
7:36 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting Levi32:
The Euro, however, has this get completely cut-off and is at least subtropical. There are no frontal characteristics here:



Looking at that there are no frontal characteristics but looking at this the 850mb temps on the western side of the system are cooler than on the eastern side.

Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29934
263. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
7:35 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
262. Bordonaro
7:35 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Thunderstorms to the left (west) of me, thunderstorms to the right (east), here I am stuck in the middle with you (scattered convection to the south of Arlington, TX, a few built up cumulus that do not look very promising to the north):o(...

We want rain, we want rain, we want rain.

Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
261. Cavin Rawlins
7:34 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting Drakoen:


Cyclone phase space diagnostics portray a thermally warm core and symmetric frontal structure.


I don't understand, that basically illustrates what I just pointed out except they also found in the tropical cyclone phase.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
260. twhcracker
7:34 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting CycloneOz:
Latest Update from tornadodude:

His team was at a gas station in Hereford when decked-out pro chasers (vehicle - uniforms) pulled in.

They spoke to each other.

Both teams now are headed for Clovis, NM. Potential for some damaging hail, etc.

So it is now official...

XtremeHurricanes.com will be broadcasting another live severe storm chase this afternoon featuring tornadodude! I will be sure to update broadcast times appropriately.


Oz---


That is exactly the same as the plot line in Twister!
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 1448
259. taco2me61
7:34 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting CycloneOz:
Latest Update from tornadodude:

His team was at a gas station in Hereford when decked-out pro chasers (vehicle - uniforms) pulled in.

They spoke to each other.

Both teams now are headed for Clovis, NM. Potential for some damaging hail, etc.

So it is now official...

XtremeHurricanes.com will be broadcasting another live severe storm chase this afternoon featuring tornadodude! I will be sure to update broadcast times appropriately.


Oz---

ok Thanks That will be so Cool.
I'm going to wish I was there with them....

Taco :o)
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3241
258. Hurricanes101
7:33 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
thats a neat loop TampaSpin

the eddys look like compact cyclones lol
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7397
257. Levi32
7:33 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
The Euro, however, has this get completely cut-off and is at least subtropical. There are no frontal characteristics here, although a trough of low pressure extends to the east and eventually links up with an old front:

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26564
256. Drakoen
7:33 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting Levi32:


Well by the time the longwave trough starts bringing this north there is some cold advection on the western side of the system, which makes the tail appear like a front. The upper cut-off low at this time is pretty dang big on the GFS, a little too big. At this point the system is already going back to baroclinic roots. It does not start that way though.

GFS 180 hours 850mb height/wind/temp:



GFS 180 hours 500mb:



The low appears heavily baroclinic in its initiation despite the cut-off. Still frontal like features.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29934
255. TampaSpin
7:32 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting JamesSA:


How do you interpret this "feature" streaming to the southeast from that oil spill?

It could be a thin rainbow sheen film on the surface reflecting the sun glint.

But, if you enlarge the photo and examine i closely, it appears to be showing an UNDERWATER plume of dispersant laden oil that has been picked up the loop current. That would be a much more serious development.

Any thoughts on this?


If you look at the Gulf Stream Loop......at the North end it would follow that SE turn as the picture shows look at the loop below...




Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
254. Levi32
7:31 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting Weather456:



warm-core seclusions (warm seclusion) are asymmetric shallow warm-core features. The phase diagrams still does not show this early in the cycle.


They do not have to be asymmetric. Think of the big winter spirals. They can be symmetric and found in the symmetric warm-core region of the phase diagrams.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26564
253. Levi32
7:29 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting Drakoen:


That's not what I see. That long tail on the eastern side of the system that nearly stretches down towards the Caribbean looks frontal in nature.


Well by the time the longwave trough starts bringing this north there is some cold advection on the western side of the system, which makes the tail appear like a front. The upper cut-off low at this time is pretty dang big on the GFS, a little too big. At this point the system is already going back to baroclinic roots. It does not start that way though.

GFS 180 hours 850mb height/wind/temp:



GFS 180 hours 500mb:

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26564
252. CycloneOz
7:28 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Latest Update from tornadodude:

His team was at a gas station in Hereford when decked-out pro chasers (vehicle - uniforms) pulled in.

They spoke to each other.

Both teams now are headed for Clovis, NM. Potential for some damaging hail, etc.

So it is now official...

XtremeHurricanes.com will be broadcasting another live severe storm chase this afternoon featuring tornadodude! I will be sure to update broadcast times appropriately.


Oz---
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3620
251. JamesSA
7:27 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting Patrap:
La,La,la...

NEXSAT, Das Oil Plume


That shows it clearly... it is more than just a rainbow sheen that has been pulled into the loop current. Bad news.
Member Since: August 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 579
250. Drakoen
7:25 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting Weather456:



warm-core seclusions (warm seclusion) are asymmetric shallow warm-core features. The phase diagrams still does not show this early in the cycle.


Cyclone phase space diagnostics portray a thermally warm core and symmetric frontal structure.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29934
249. Levi32
7:25 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
The GFS deepens a passing longwave trough into the previously cut-off piece, which brings the system northward and starts re-converting it back to cold-core. The European has the system developing later than the GFS, thereby missing the trough and getting stuck to the south by the New England blocking ridge.



Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26564
248. taco2me61
7:25 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting CycloneOz:


Looks like something's building right above your head, young man! :)


Got it OZ and Tornadodude I think we can meet up...
We should be in Joplin at around 7 or 8 pm on Saturday....

Becarful out there...

Taco :o)
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3241
247. Patrap
7:23 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
NEXSAT,CONUS
/City_Zooms/GulfOfMexico
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127664
246. Drakoen
7:23 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting Levi32:


Ehh no this is not that kind of system. There is no front-wrapping or warm-pool trapping going on here. This is a trough-split initiating a surface low baroclinically, and then adopting the surface circulation and converting it to subtropical, shallowly warm-core.


That's not what I see. That long tail on the eastern side of the system that nearly stretches down towards the Caribbean looks frontal in nature.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29934
245. Patrap
7:22 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
La,La,la...

NEXSAT, Das Oil Plume
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127664
244. Cavin Rawlins
7:22 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting Drakoen:


warm core seclusion



warm-core seclusions (warm seclusion) are asymmetric shallow warm-core features. The phase diagrams still does not show this early in the cycle.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
243. Levi32
7:21 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting Drakoen:


warm core seclusion


Ehh no this is not that kind of system. There is no front-wrapping or warm-pool trapping going on here. This is a trough-split initiating a surface low baroclinically, and then adopting the surface circulation and converting it to subtropical, shallowly warm-core.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26564
242. xcool
7:20 PM GMT on May 17, 2010






show low by Caribbean
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15626
241. reedzone
7:20 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting Levi32:
Does this look cool or what...

Euro 216 hours:

Caribbean low seems to weaken a bit but the low east of Florida is something to see.





Looks like it could be a 50-60 mph. Subtropical Storm. I could be wrong though...
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
240. Cavin Rawlins
7:20 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting JRRP:

looks that man...

nice


The ECMWF intensifies the feature and retrograde back to Florida.

The GFS takes it out to sea.

The system retrogrades back west under a blocking ridge.

Similar scenario to Andrea 2007

It weakens the SW Caribbean disturbance as it heads towards Hispaniola

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
239. Drakoen
7:19 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting Weather456:


If that is true, then it should be reflected in cyclone phase diagrams by the same model, GFS.

Asymmetry does not occur until later in the cycle, until then, the system is analyzed and modeled as a non-frontal feature.



warm core seclusion
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29934
238. Levi32
7:19 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting stormhank:
Thanks Levi...I had another question that Joe bastardi once said If one basin has storms steering in a certain direction that another basins storms tend to follow the same path ex. west etc.. is that true also??


I don't off the top of my head remember such a statement from him but I'd have to know more of the context of it.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26564
237. JamesSA
7:19 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Quoting TampaSpin:
The LOOP CURRENT HAS GRABBED IT NOW.....OH BOY!



How do you interpret this "feature" streaming to the southeast from that oil spill?

It could be a thin rainbow sheen film on the surface reflecting the sun glint.

But, if you enlarge the photo and examine i closely, it appears to be showing an UNDERWATER plume of dispersant laden oil that has been picked up the loop current. That would be a much more serious development.

Any thoughts on this?
Member Since: August 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 579
236. Bordonaro
7:19 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
TORNADO WARNING
TXC291-339-407-172000-
/O.NEW.KHGX.TO.W.0009.100517T1911Z-100517T2000Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HOUSTON/GALVESTON TX
211 PM CDT MON MAY 17 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LEAGUE CITY HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHWESTERN LIBERTY COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST TEXAS...
EASTERN MONTGOMERY COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST TEXAS...
SOUTHERN SAN JACINTO COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST TEXAS...

* UNTIL 300 PM CDT

* AT 209 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO THIS TORNADO
WAS LOCATED 7 MILES WEST OF SHEPHERD... MOVING SOUTH AT 30 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IN THE TORNADO WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
TARKINGTON PRAIRIE...NORTH CLEVELAND AND CLEVELAND.

PLEASE REPORT SEVERE WEATHER TO THE COUNTY SHERIFF...LOCAL POLICE...
OR DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND ASK THEM TO RELAY YOUR REPORT TO
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
235. xcool
7:19 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
JRRP. Get ready for more
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15626
234. Levi32
7:18 PM GMT on May 17, 2010
Does this look cool or what...

Euro 216 hours:

Caribbean low seems to weaken a bit but the low east of Florida is something to see.



Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26564

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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.