Long range oil spill forecast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:02 PM GMT on June 04, 2010

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Onshore winds out of the south, southwest, or west are expected to blow over the northern Gulf of Mexico over through Tuesday, resulting in a continued threat of landfalling oil to Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA and the State of Louisiana. The latest ocean current forecasts from the NOAA HYCOM model show that these winds will generate a 0.5 mph current flowing from west to east along the Florida Panhandle coast Sunday through Tuesday. If this current develops as predicted, it will be capable of bringing light amounts of oil as far east as Panama City, Florida, by Wednesday. Long range surface wind forecasts from the GFS model for the period 8 - 14 days from now predict a return to a southeasterly wind regime, which would bring the oil back over Louisiana by mid-June. If you spot oil, send in your report to http://www.gulfcoastspill.com/, whose mission is to help the Gulf Coast recovery by creating a daily record of the oil spill.

Long range oil spill outlook
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) issued a press release yesterday showing 4-month model runs (Figure 1) of where the Deepwater Horizon oil spill might go. The model runs show that given typical ocean currents in the Gulf of Mexico, we can expect the oil to eventually affect most of the Florida Panhandle, Keys, and Florida East Coast, as well as coastal areas of South Carolina and North Carolina. Very little oil makes it to the West Florida "Forbidden Zone", where offshore-moving surface currents dominate. The oil may eventually affect three foreign countries: Mexico along the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cuba near Havana, and the Bahamas in the Bimini Islands and along the western side of Grand Bahama Island. Once oil does get into the Loop Current, it will probably reach the coasts of France, Spain, and Portugal in about a year. The oil will be too dilute by then to be noticeable, though.

The present ocean current configuration in the Gulf features a newly formed Loop Current Eddy (dubbed "Franklin"), which will tend to capture the majority of oil that flows southwards from the Deepwater Horizon spill site. A plot of drifting buoys (drifters) launched into the Gulf May 19 - 24 (Figure 2) reveals how this clockwise-rotating eddy has been capturing southward-moving surface water. Eddy Franklin will move slowly west-southwest at 2 - 3 mph in the coming weeks. By August or September, the eddy will have moved far enough west that the Loop Current will be able to push northwards towards the spill location again, increasing the chances of oil getting into the Loop Current and being advected through the Florida Straits and up the U.S. Southeast Coast. Between now and mid-August, I doubt that a significant amount of oil will get into the Loop Current, unless a hurricane or tropical storm goes through the Gulf of Mexico. I put the odds of this happening by mid-August at 50%. The odds of a named storm in the Gulf of Mexico will increase sharply after mid-August, when the peak portion of hurricane season arrives. Past history shows a 95% chance of getting two or more named storms in the Gulf of Mexico during hurricane seasons with above-normal activity.


Figure 1. Animation from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) showing one scenario of how oil released at the location of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on April 20 in the Gulf of Mexico may move in the upper 65 feet of the ocean.


Figure 2. During the R/V Bellows 19-24 May 2010 Cruise into the Loop Current, drifters were dropped on the eastern edge of the Loop Current. These drifters have all been caught in Loop Current Eddy "Franklin", and are orbiting the central Gulf of Mexico in clockwise loops. Additional drifters deployed by the Coast Guard over the past few weeks (orange colors) are also shown. The colored balloons show the starting location of the drifters. Image credit: University of South Florida.

Oil spill resources
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
Oil trajectory forecasts from NOAA
Gulf Oil Blog from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami


Figure 2. Visible satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Phet on Friday, June 4, 2010.

Tropical Cyclone Phet unleashes heavy rains on Oman
Tropical Cyclone Phet hit the northern tip of Oman yesterday as a Category 2 storm, bringing torrential rains and killing at least two people. Masirah, Oman recorded sustained winds of 74 mph yesterday, and Sur, Oman on the northeast coast has received 3.25 inches of rain so far. Phet was the 2nd strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Arabian Sea, when it peaked at Category 4 strength with 145 mph. Only Category 5 Cyclone Gonu of 2007, which devastated Oman, was stronger. Phet has emerged from the coast of Oman this morning, but is likely to weaken over the next day due to increased wind shear. Phet should hit Pakistan as a tropical storm on Saturday, bringing heavy rain and serious flooding.

Next update
I'll probably have one update over the weekend. The tropical Atlantic is quiet right now, with no models predicting tropical cyclone development over the next seven days.

Jeff Masters

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2756. Makoto1
Is anyone else having trouble with getting logged out of the site randomly? I can't refresh the page anymore without it signing me off.
2755. MrsOsa
I'm going to take a second to just give props to this website and blog. I get the best and most up to date weather information (of all kinds) from here WAY before TWC or even any of our local stations pick up on it.

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Quoting WaterWitch11:
hiya bord,

i just saw this one:

0301 2 E HERSCHER KANKAKEE IL 4105 8806 ON RT 115. SPOTTER REPORTS TORNADO KEEPS TOUCHING DOWN AND LIFTING. (LOT)

This is a very DANGEROUS situation! These folks rarely see tornadoes, it is almost Midnight, and there are about 20 counties under Tornado Warnings!!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Tornado Warning

SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO/ROMEOVILLE IL
1038 PM CDT SAT JUN 5 2010

ILC091-INC111-060400-
/O.CON.KLOT.TO.W.0010.000000T0000Z-100606T0400Z/
KANKAKEE IL-NEWTON IN-
1038 PM CDT SAT JUN 5 2010

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR NORTHERN NEWTON AND
SOUTHEASTERN KANKAKEE COUNTIES UNTIL 1100 PM CDT...

AT 1032 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR AND STORM
SPOTTERS WERE TRACKING A LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO. THIS
TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR HOPKINS PARK...OR 7 MILES SOUTH OF
MOMENCE...MOVING EAST AT 35 MPH.

THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
CONRAD...LAKE VILLAGE AND ENOS AROUND 1050 PM CDT.
ROSELAWN AROUND 1100 PM CDT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TORNADOES ARE DIFFICULT TO SEE AT NIGHT. TAKE COVER NOW.

&&

LAT...LON 4094 8731 4100 8753 4101 8753 4101 8755
4103 8765 4113 8766 4116 8729
TIME...MOT...LOC 0337Z 267DEG 30KT 4107 8758

$$

IZZI






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Link (elmwood)
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
Quoting TropicalWave:
excellent read, xcool, i loved it. hey dan, keep it up, because remember that arguments will always equal bans in here, your digging up your own grave.


You would be an expert about what gets people banned
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Quoting hydrus:
It looks like the heaviest weather is in Southern Michigan. If you have family there, I hope they know whats happening.

I do too. They hardly have anything like this.
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looks like rotation near kalamazoo

Link
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2747. Makoto1
Make sure your weather radio is on in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio tonight. For the last two states, it might seem calm now, but the storms are moving eastward with a little bit of a southward motion to the overall system, so better to be safe than get woken up by a train sound.
2746. xcool
TropicalWave :0
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Quoting MrstormX:


33 tornadoes reported, storms now moving from Illinois to Indiana.


On the NOAA site with the SPC map...if you scroll down you can read damage reports.

Saw one about semi trucks blown off I-39 East, just South of Lostant...several hundred feet into cornfield.
Member Since: September 14, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 283
hiya bord,

i just saw this one:

0301 2 E HERSCHER KANKAKEE IL 4105 8806 ON RT 115. SPOTTER REPORTS TORNADO KEEPS TOUCHING DOWN AND LIFTING. (LOT)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Bordonaro:
Tomorrow, I am afraid there will be be substantial damage reports all over IL..


Yah especially in some remote areas.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
Tomorrow, I am afraid there will be be substantial damage reports all over IL..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
000
NWUS53 KILX 060324
LSRILX

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LINCOLN IL
1024 PM CDT SAT JUN 05 2010

..TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON...
..DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
..REMARKS..

1015 PM TORNADO 1 SE HOPEDALE 40.41N 89.40W
06/05/2010 TAZEWELL IL EMERGENCY MNGR

TORNADO AT HOPEDALE ROAD AND OLYMPIA ROAD MOVING EAST.


&&

$$

JRP
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
2739. hydrus
Quoting Ameister12:
I have a bunch of relatives in Michigan. I hope the best for them.
It looks like the heaviest weather is in Southern Michigan. If you have family there, I hope they know whats happening.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19601
Kalamazoo, MI under a Tornado Warning, just issued..
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Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
Quoting WaterWitch11:
hi all,
my god, just saw all the tornadoes and what's with the systems that keep on trying to form in the boc?


Nothing of major consequence in the BOC, alot of flare up in the late afternoon, but die down overnight.

Long track tornadoes are wreaking havoc in IL
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Quoting PcolaDan:


You've got some nerve as a newcomer in here chastising people. Unless you're not who you say you are. Anyone here for even a little while knows Taz.


He is no newcomer, this is his 4th name in the last two weeks
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New article and damage update
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
hi all,
my god, just saw all the tornadoes and what's with the systems that keep on trying to form in the boc?
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Tornado in Hopedale, IL about 15 mins ago.
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2729. Drakoen
Quoting Levi32:


As far as the tropics go, I would agree with that list.


Yea. For winter weather, I tend to rely more on the GFS and the NAM forecasts.
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2728. xcool



^^ my





^ by by Chris Hebert .
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Looking at the last radar update I think that the rotation is becoming more weak and broad. However, don't let your guard down in Kankakee County it could just be cycling.
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Quoting TropicalWave:
be more curteous and please stop screaming, taz. also, what's nado?


You've got some nerve as a newcomer in here chastising people. Unless you're not who you say you are. Anyone here for even a little while knows Taz.
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Quoting xcool:
tropical weather,plz

Sorry, we're experiencing a large nigh-time tornado outbreak outside of normal Tornado Alley.

Brief tropical update:

All is fairly quiet, pockets of high SAL in the MDR keeping things quiet for the moment!!
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2723. GatorWX
Quoting MrstormX:


Remember this is a small market city, they probably don't even have anybody there ready for a cut in.


I suppose, but Peoria is quite large and including the metro area, is around a quarter million people. A large tornado moving through here would be capable of inflicting a considerable amount of damage. Everyone has cell phones, you don't always need journalists to get news through.
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Not that I'm defending the weather channel, but if there is severe weather going on in your area, your local NWS should be the first place to go since they issue all the warnings. Of course local TV will have Doppler and who is in the path of the storm as well. NOAA weather radios are the least expensive way to insure your family's safety.
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2721. xcool
TropicalWave hi .check this out!
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I have a bunch of relatives in Michigan. I hope the best for them.
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33 tornadoes reported, storms now moving from Illinois to Indiana.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
2716. xcool
Updated 2010 Hurricane Season Outlook - 18 Named Storms
June 4th, 2010

By now, you’ve heard of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) outlook calling for between 14-23 named storms this season. That range encompasses just over 1 standard deviation above and below 18.5 named storms. What NOAA is saying is that there is a 70% chance that the total number of named storms this season will be in that range. While I think that a 10 storm range is quite large (an average season has 11-12 named storms), it is significant that even the low end of the range (14) constitutes an above-normal number of named storms. NOAA appears quite confident that the Atlantic Basin will be quite active in 2010, and so are we.

On April 20th, our outlook was for 15 named storms with 9 of the storms becoming hurricanes, and 4 of those hurricanes reaching major status (Saffir-Simpson Category 3-4-5). We could tell that all of the seasonal parameters that we monitor were suggesting a very active season, but there was still a good deal of uncertainty. El Niño was forecast to steadily weaken, but would it really weaken as quickly as some of the models were forecasting? Sea surface temperatures were at record high levels for April, but sometimes the heating drops off later in the spring. The European model was forecasting very low surface pressure anomalies in the tropics, but was it right? There were many questions back in April, questions that have at least partially been answered during the month of May.

There’s no question at all that El Niño is gone. The El Niño threshold for Pacific sea surface temperature anomalies is +0.5C and higher. Temperatures in the main El Niño region dropped from about +0.7C in late April to -0.2C. The La Niña threshold is -0.5C and cooler, so the current value is fast-approaching the La Niña threshold. All model guidance now forecasts at least a weak La Niña from July-November. This would be a significant enhancing factor for development, as a La Niña promotes more rising air (thunderstorms) in the Atlantic Basin, as well as decreased upper-level wind shear. So this uncertainty no longer exists.

In March and April, the European model’s seasonal projections of surface pressure anomalies in the deep tropics was for lower and lower pressures during peak season (August-October). That trend continued with their late May update. In fact, extremely low pressures are forecast for the entire region from the Gulf of Mexico through the Caribbean and all the way to Africa. This represents a Bermuda High that is significantly weaker than in 2009 and also one that is displaced farther to the east. The net effect is for weaker easterly trade winds across the Tropical Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea. Weaker trade winds means less low-level wind shear in this region, the “Main Development Region”. But weaker trade winds also means less dry, dusty air blowing off the west coast of Mexico this season, another enhancing factor. Finally, the lower pressures in the tropics means more rising air and thunderstorms in 2010. Last year, the Caribbean islands saw very little rainfall because the Bermuda High was stronger than normal during the summer. This year looks to be a complete reversal of the 2009 pattern. Less low level wind shear and more moisture would mean not only an increased likelihood of development, but greater chances for larger and more powerful hurricanes.

The final uncertainty from last April was whether the unseasonably warm ocean temperatures would start to moderate through the month of May into June. Sometimes, sea surface temperatures are anomalously warm in March and April, only to decrease to near normal levels by the start of the season. It’s clear that won’t be the case in 2010. Sea surface temperatures remain quite warm as of today, and there are no signs of a decrease. Ocean temperatures will not be an inhibiting factor for development this year, even in the Gulf of Mexico where temperatures were below normal back in April.

Based upon all that I’ve discussed above, we have revised our prediction for this season as of June 1st. We are now forecasting a total of 18 named storms, with 11 of those hurricanes and 5 of the hurricanes reaching major hurricane strength (Category 3-4-5). Projected numbers are one thing, but most people want to know what the seasonal prediction means to them. We’ve highlighted the areas that are most likely to be significantly impacted in 2010 on the graphic below.



We expect a concentration of tracks generally toward the islands of the northern Caribbean Sea and northwest into the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Secondarily, a few storms may track just north of the Caribbean and impact the Bahamas and/or the Carolinas. But there may be times when a hurricane develops or moves into the Caribbean Sea and high pressure across the Gulf of Mexico is a little stronger. This could lead to a track into the northern Yucatan Peninsula with eventual landfall on the coast of Mexico south of Texas.

That’s our June update. We’ll be watching to see how things materialize over the coming month before issuing our next update on Thursday, July 1st. You can reserve your seat at our July 1st webinar by visiting the link below. See you there

by by Chris Hebert .


kaboom...
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2715. Levi32
Quoting Drakoen:


I highly value the ECMWF as well. If I had to put the models in order of value I would say:

1. ECMWF
2. GFS
3. UKMET
4. CMC
5. NOGAPS


As far as the tropics go, I would agree with that list.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
TORNADO WARNING
ILC107-125-179-060345-
/O.NEW.KILX.TO.W.0018.100606T0321Z-100606T0345Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LINCOLN IL
1021 PM CDT SAT JUN 5 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LINCOLN HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHERN LOGAN COUNTY IN CENTRAL ILLINOIS...
EAST CENTRAL MASON COUNTY IN CENTRAL ILLINOIS...
SOUTH CENTRAL TAZEWELL COUNTY IN CENTRAL ILLINOIS...

* UNTIL 1045 PM CDT.

* AT 1020 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS
STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR SAN JOSE...OR 8 MILES NORTH OF MASON CITY...
AND MOVING EAST AT 50 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
SAN JOSE...EMDEN...HARTSBURG...ATLANTA AND LAWNDALE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
STURDY BUILDING. AVOID WINDOWS. IF IN A MOBILE HOME...A VEHICLE OR
OUTDOORS...MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT
YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

&&

LAT...LON 4032 8927 4029 8926 4029 8920 4014 8923
4025 8981 4040 8976
TIME...MOT...LOC 0321Z 281DEG 43KT 4031 8965

$$

HJS
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
2713. xcool
???
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SW Mclean County IL has a tornado on the ground sighted by spotted...this is just south of I74 SW of Bloomington/Normal moving eastward crossing I59. Now three possible sightings in this area. These areas have large numbers of mobile homes for workers at the Mitsibishi plant on the West side of Bloomington.
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NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO/ROMEOVILLE IL
1021 PM CDT SAT JUN 5 2010

ILC075-091-INC111-060400-
/O.CON.KLOT.TO.W.0010.000000T0000Z-100606T0400Z/
IROQUOIS IL-KANKAKEE IL-NEWTON IN-
1021 PM CDT SAT JUN 5 2010

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR NORTHERN NEWTON...
SOUTHEASTERN KANKAKEE AND NORTHEASTERN IROQUOIS COUNTIES UNTIL 1100
PM CDT...

AT 1020 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR AND STORM
SPOTTERS WERE TRACKING A LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO. THIS
TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR AROMA PARK MOVING EAST AT 40 MPH.

THIS IS A DANGEROUS LIFE THREATENING STORM. PERSONS IN THE PATH OF
THIS STORM SHOULD TAKE COVER NOW!

THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
ST. ANNE AROUND 1025 PM CDT.
HOPKINS PARK AROUND 1030 PM CDT.
CONRAD...ENOS AND LAKE VILLAGE AROUND 1045 PM CDT.
ROSELAWN AROUND 1055 PM CDT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TORNADOES ARE DIFFICULT TO SEE AND CONFIRM AT NIGHT. TAKE COVER NOW.
TO REPEAT A TORNADO IS ON THE GROUND. TO PROTECT YOUR LIFE...TAKE
COVER NOW. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A STURDY
BUILDING. AVOID WINDOWS. IF IN A MOBILE HOME...A VEHICLE OR
OUTDOORS...MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT
YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

&&

LAT...LON 4101 8788 4111 8788 4116 8729 4094 8731
TIME...MOT...LOC 0319Z 269DEG 34KT 4106 8776

$$
CMS
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2710. xcool
who ready for goood stuff ?????
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News trucks can't get into Elmwood.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
S MI all the thunderstorms are rotating, several tornado warnings is effect..Numerous towns in the target zone...Folks from MI need to turn on their local TV or NOAA weather radio! LOOK at all these TORNADO warnings and TWC is covering next weeks forecasts

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.