Globe has 3rd consecutive warmest month on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:24 PM GMT on June 17, 2010

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The globe recorded its warmest May since record keeping began in 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). The May temperature anomaly of 0.69°C (1.24°F) beat the previous record set in 1998 by 0.06°C. We've now had three consecutive warmest months on record, the first time that has happened since 1998. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies also rated May 2010 as the warmest May on record, tied with May 1998. Both NOAA and NASA rated the year-to-date period, January - May, as the warmest such period on record, and the last 12-month period (June 2009 - May 2010) as the warmest 12-month period on record. May 2010 global ocean temperatures were the second warmest on record, while land temperatures were the warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the 2nd warmest on record in May, according to both the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) groups.

For those interested, NCDC has a page of notable weather highlights from May 2010.


Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for May 2010. Image credit: NOAA National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

Asia and Southeast Asia record their hottest temperatures in history
The mercury hit an astonishing 53.5°C (128.3°F) at MohenjuDaro, Pakistan, on May 26. Not only is the 128.3°F reading the hottest temperature ever recorded in Pakistan, it is the hottest reliably measured temperature ever recorded on the continent of Asia. The evidence for this record is detailed in a post I made earlier this month. The Pakistan heat wave killed at least 18 Pakistanis, and temperatures in excess of 50°C (122°F) were recorded at nine Pakistani cities on May 26, including 53°C (127.4°F) at Sibi. Record heat also hit Southeast Asia in May. According to the Myanmar Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, Myanmar (Burma) had its hottest temperature in its recorded history on May 12, when the mercury hit 47°C (116.6°F) in Myinmu. Myanmar's previous hottest temperature was 45.8°C (114.4°F) at Minbu, Magwe division on May 9, 1998. According to Chris Burt, author of Extreme Weather, the 47°C (116.6°F) measured on May 12 this year is the hottest temperature measured in Southeast Asia in recorded history.

An average May for the U.S.
For the contiguous U.S., it was the 50th coldest (66th warmest) May in the 116-year record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Idaho had its second coolest May on record, while it was Montana's fourth coolest, Wyoming's and Oregon's seventh coolest, Utah's eighth, California's ninth, and Nevada's tenth coolest such period. Rhode Island observed its second warmest May on record and Florida tied for its second warmest. Other states much warmer than normal during May included: Louisiana (4th warmest), Massachusetts (5th warmest), Connecticut (6th warmest), New Hampshire (7th warmest), Mississippi and New York (each 8th warmest), and New Jersey (9th warmest).

NCDC's Climate Extremes Index (CEI) for spring (March-May) was about 5 percent higher than average. The CEI measures the prevalence of several types of climate extremes (like record or near-record warmth, dry spells, or rainy periods). Factors contributing to spring's elevated values: widespread (2-3 times larger than average) coverage of anomalously warm daily max and min temperatures, and above-average extent of extreme one-day precipitation events. According to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, tornadic activity in May was near normal with 290 preliminary tornado reports.

U.S. precipitation and drought
For the contiguous U.S., May 2010 ranked as the 35th wettest May in the 116-year record. The state of Washington had its third wettest May on record and extreme precipitation events in Tennessee and Kentucky contributed to their sixth and seventh wettest such period, respectively. It was the tenth wettest May in North Dakota. At the end of May, approximately 3% of the contiguous United States was in severe-to-exceptional drought. This is a very low amount of drought for the U.S.

La Niña likely by July
El Niño rapidly dissipated in May, with sea surface temperatures (SSTs) over the tropical Eastern Pacific in the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region", falling to 0.50°C below average by June 14, according to NOAA.. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is reporting that this number was 0.31°C below average (as of June 13.) Since La Niña conditions are defined as occurring when this number reaches 0.50°C below average, we are right at the threshold of a La Niña. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center has issued a La Niña watch, and it is likely that a full-fledged La Niña will emerge by July. Ten of the 23 El Niño models (updated as of May 19) are predicting La Niña conditions for hurricane season. However, as NOAA's Climate Prediction Center commented in their June 3 advisory, a number of the more reliable models are now calling for La Niña to develop this summer. They comment, "there is an increasing confidence in these colder model forecasts, which is supported by recent observations that show cooling trends in the Pacific Ocean and signs of coupling with the atmospheric circulation."

It is interesting to note that the last time we had a strong El Niño event, in 1998, El Niño collapsed dramatically in May, and a strong La Niña event developed by hurricane season. History appears to be repeating itself, and the emergence of La Niña will likely occur by July. The demise of El Niño, coupled with sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic that are currently at record levels, suggest that a much more active Atlantic hurricane season that usual likely in 2010. The 1998 Atlantic hurricane season was about 40% above average in activity, with 14 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes. The season was relatively late-starting, with only one named storm occurring before August 20.


Figure 2. Ice extent through June 15, 2010 in the Arctic, compared to the record low years of 2006 and 2007. Record low Arctic ice extent began about June 1, and has remained at record low extent for the first half of June. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Arctic sea ice extent reaches a record low at end of May
Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent in May 2010 was the 9th lowest since satellite records began in 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Ice extent was near average at the beginning of May, but thanks to the fastest rate of decline ever observed during the month of May (50% faster than average), ice extent reached a record low by the end of May. Ice extent has remained at record low levels throughout the first half of June, as well. Ice volume was also at a record low at the end of May, according to University of Washington Polar Ice Center, due to the fact the Arctic is now dominated by thin first and second-year ice.

Record low Northern Hemisphere snow extent in May
For the second consecutive month, the Rutgers Snow Lab reported that the snow cover footprint over North America was the smallest on record for the month. A record-small snow footprint was also observed over Eurasia and the Northern Hemisphere as a whole.

The Atlantic is quiet
The 92L low pressure system, now located about 300 miles east of the northern Lesser Antilles Islands, has been completely disrupted by wind shear and dry air, and is no longer a threat to develop. The remnants of 92L, which are currently kicking up some strong thunderstorms due to interaction with an upper-level trough of low pressure, will bring heavy rain showers and wind gusts up to 35 mph to the northern Lesser Antilles Islands tonight through Friday, and into Puerto Rico Friday night through Saturday. On Sunday, the disturbance could bring heavy rains to northern Haiti. The earthquake zone in southern Haiti may also receive heavy enough rains to be of concern for the 1.5 million people living in tents and under tarps.

None of the reliable computer models is predicting formation of a tropical cyclone in the Atlantic over the next seven days, though the GFS model was suggesting a weak development moving through the southern Lesser Antilles Islands seven days from now.

Oil spill wind and ocean current forecast
Light and variable winds less than 10 knots will blow in the northern Gulf of Mexico for the next five days, according to the latest marine forecast from NOAA. The winds will tend to have a westerly component through Sunday, which will maintain a slow (1/4 mph) eastward-moving surface ocean current that will transport oil eastwards along the Florida Panhandle coast, according to the latest ocean current forecast from NOAA's HYCOM model. These winds and currents may be capable of transporting oil east to Panama City, Florida, and oil will continue to threaten the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi for the remainder of the week as well, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA and the State of Louisiana. Ocean current forecasts for early next week show a weakening of the eastward-flowing currents along the Florida Panhandle, which would limit the eastward movement of oil so that it would not move past Panama City. The long range 8 - 16 day forecast from the GFS model indicates a typical summertime light wind regime, with winds mostly blowing out of the south or southeast. This wind regime will likely keep oil close to the coastal areas that have already seen oil impacts over the past two weeks.

NOAA has launched a great new interactive mapping tool that allows one to overlay wind forecasts, ocean current forecasts, oil location, etc.

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
NOAA great new interactive mapping tool that allows one to overlay wind forecasts, ocean current forecasts, oil location, etc.
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

I'll have an update on Friday.

Jeff Masters

Tar Goobers on Okaloosa Island (Beachfoxx)
Tar & Oil from the DWH spill spoil our beaches - it hit shoreline about 11:30 am CST today
Tar Goobers on Okaloosa Island

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2252. Prgal
Quoting leo305:


wasn't that tropical storm FAY?

I really dont remember the name. sorry :-(
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2251. Grothar
Quoting caneswatch:


Where do you think it will go once it gets in the Caribbean?


Very hard to say until the center is actually located and it shows a consistent movement. Too early to tell if it can maintain itself in an environment not conducive to development.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26894
2250. Levi32
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
Actually, I could be wrong, but I believe those "dimples" in the storm could be inflow channels... indicating that the surface pressure is dropping. Someone back me up on that? I did take 3 sem of meteo.


"Dimples" as in the niches in the convection that are making the MCC non-circular? Those are upper-level clouds and would not be indicating inflow. More like dry air getting punched in by the strong upper winds.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684
2249. leo305
Quoting Prgal:


True, I remember. There was also a system that passed over PR and they said the same thing (no TD because it lacked a closed circulation). After it left our area it became a storm and then a hurricane. Cant remember the name of the storm but it was 1-3 years ago.


wasn't that tropical storm FAY?
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Quoting Grothar:


Such abuse heaped upon me by the blogger whom I most respect. LOL I do hope they know we are kidding. LOL

I was always taught to respect my elders and I've now reached the age when I don't have anybody to respect.
George Burns

So there!

Hehe, L8R.

Nighty, night.
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2247. Levi32
Quoting atmoaggie:

Yep. Actually reminds of a wrapping in a nado with dry air off to it's north/NW.


Kinda does doesn't it.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684
2246. Prgal
Quoting Levi32:


It's probably nowhere close to a TD. The surface center is still exposed and there is no evidence that it is fully closed. Without at least a closed circulation you can't classify it as anything. We've had disturbances like this with 45-knot winds (I think back in 2008 we had one) but couldn't be called a TS because of lack of a closed circulation.


True, I remember. There was also a system that passed over PR and they said the same thing (no TD because it lacked a closed circulation). After it left our area it became a storm and then a hurricane. Cant remember the name of the storm but it was 1-3 years ago.
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Quoting Levi32:


Just ENE of Dominica?

Yep. Actually reminds of a wrapping in a nado with dry air off to it's north/NW.
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2244. Grothar
Quoting atmoaggie:

Whoa! Hold on right there! Well, if wise is gauged in years...

Like I posted a couple of nights back:

Berlioz: "Time is a great teacher. Unfortunately, it kills all its pupils."


Such abuse heaped upon me by the blogger whom I most respect. LOL I do hope they know we are kidding. LOL

I was always taught to respect my elders and I've now reached the age when I don't have anybody to respect.
George Burns

So there!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26894
just kidding to help me staying up till 2AM lol
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2242. leo305
Quoting Levi32:


Just ENE of Dominica?


that's were I believe the center is based on the radar animations
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Quoting Levi32:
04:45...still expanding westward, but we're getting into lopsided territory here in terms of the MCC's shape.

Actually, I could be wrong, but I believe those "dimples" in the storm could be inflow channels... indicating that the surface pressure is dropping. Someone back me up on that? I did take 3 sem of meteo.
Member Since: December 1, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 3631
2240. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting cchsweatherman:


Definitely. Something that I can't quite figure out right now though is how this system has near perfect outflow in the northern, western, and southern quadrants with seemingly fast upper level winds coming from the west.
because it wants its record and maybe just maybe it will get it
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2239. leo305
Quoting CaribBoy:


don't worry it's moving WSW.. it will hit the ABC islands then South america


it wont hit south america
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2238. Levi32
Quoting atmoaggie:

I think I can see a circulation on this.



Just ENE of Dominica?
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684
Looks like your recently banned blogger as produced another very good video. Here it is. Yes it is worth a minute of your time.

http://www.youtube.com/v/Z8PCJOPqIME
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2236. Levi32
Quoting Prgal:


And this is not a TD at least? Give me a break!


It's probably nowhere close to a TD. The surface center is still exposed and there is no evidence that it is fully closed. Without at least a closed circulation you can't classify it as anything. We've had disturbances like this with 45-knot winds (I think back in 2008 we had one) but couldn't be called a TS because of lack of a closed circulation.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684
2235. Prgal
Oh Levi, the comment was not about what you said. I was just looking at the pic.
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Quoting JLPR2:


that view makes me nervous, it looks too menacing XD


don't worry it's moving WSW.. it will hit the ABC islands then South america
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Quoting Levi32:


It is possible, though would be an incredible feat to pull off within this shear. So far I see no evidence of a new center forming under the MCC but you are right that it probably has something at the mid-levels, which you can almost see on radar. It will be interesting how much this surge of convection can catch up to the surface center before getting slowed up.


Definitely. Something that I can't quite figure out right now though is how this system has good outflow in the northern, western, and southern quadrants with seemingly fast upper level winds coming from the west.
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Quoting Grothar:


Where did you ever find that? It is true, we are very lucky.


I'm not sure what the original link I got it from but this one goes into a bit more detail. Link
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2231. Prgal
Quoting Levi32:


West and SW outflow hasn't diminished, but remains minimal. It has been inching outwards from the MCC for hours, gaining precious ground, but hard to do verse 30 knots of westerlies. You can see the fuzziness of the white clouds along the edge of the convection, and in some areas the classic cirrus spikes.



And this is not a TD at least? Give me a break!
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Quoting Levi32:


It is possible, though would be an incredible feat to pull off within this shear. So far I see no evidence of a new center forming under the MCC but you are right that it probably has something at the mid-levels, which you can almost see on radar. It will be interesting how much this surge of convection can catch up to the surface center before getting slowed up.

I think I can see a circulation on this.



Loop here: http://www.meteo.fr/temps/domtom/antilles/pack-public/animation/animMOSAIC2.html
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2229. JLPR2
this has the center on the western edge of the convection, right under it


*whoops forgot the picture XD LOL!*
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2228. Levi32
Quoting atmoaggie:

Tough to see...did it lose the western and SW outflow it had going?


West and SW outflow hasn't diminished, but remains minimal. It has been inching outwards from the MCC for hours, gaining precious ground, but hard to do verse 30 knots of westerlies. You can see the fuzziness of the white clouds along the edge of the convection, and in some areas the classic cirrus spikes.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684
Heaviest rains will probably affect Martinique instead of Dominica.. something totally unexpected earlier!!
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2226. Prgal
Quoting JLPR2:


that view makes me nervous, it looks too menacing XD

It sure does!
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2225. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting caneswatch:


Where do you think it will go once it gets in the Caribbean?
i believe its heading to 16n66w to position itself s of pr by early evening tomorrow
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2224. Levi32
Quoting cchsweatherman:
Hey Levi,

Just wanted to get your opinion on my thinking earlier that possibly, this MCC could eventually develop a surface circulation. Just been watching satellite from throughout the night and the mid-level circulation associated with this MCC has been very vigorous. In addition, as someone noted earlier, it seems the 850mb vorticity maxima has shifted further south favoring the MCC as well. Just some observations and I may be wrong.


It is possible, though would be an incredible feat to pull off within this shear. So far I see no evidence of a new center forming under the MCC but you are right that it probably has something at the mid-levels, which you can almost see on radar. It will be interesting how much this surge of convection can catch up to the surface center before getting slowed up.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684
Quoting Grothar:


Nice image KEEPER, looks like it wants to go s little Southwest. Somebody probably told it the shear was to high to the North. Really good image, looks like is it moving a little again.

Tough to see...did it lose the western and SW outflow it had going?
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The recent changes in direction may keep 92L away from any mountain interactions..and those were considered to be the sure death of the system even if it held out. Now it is still holding out and those mountains are getting to be further and further away from the likely track.
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2221. JLPR2
Quoting Grothar:


that view makes me nervous, it looks too menacing XD
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2220. Grothar
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26894
Quoting Grothar:


Nice image KEEPER, looks like it wants to go s little Southwest. Somebody probably told it the shear was to high to the North. Really good image, looks like is it moving a little again.


Where do you think it will go once it gets in the Caribbean?
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2218. xcool
move to wsw hmmm
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or there are simply no data visible to indicate convergence.
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alright, hope so! i dont know tons on some of this but i do know i cant stop checkin the radar, your entries, and waitin for the 2 update while i should be studying! haha
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Quoting islanderDoc:
I am currently in Dominica, the northwestern area of the island.... winds have decreased to nearly nothing, and light showers just picked up again, with some thunder. Lightning to the northeast for he past hour or so.


I also appreciated the update > I found it very interesting to read a personal account of the weather there.
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2214. Grothar
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


INV/92/XL
MARK
15.7N/59.3W


Nice image KEEPER, looks like it wants to go s little Southwest. Somebody probably told it the shear was to high to the North. Really good image, looks like is it moving a little again.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26894
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


KEEPER that is a great loop and easily shows how sheer has decreased in and around and in front of 92L...bingo.
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Quoting homelesswanderer:
As the wise man (Grothar)said.

Whoa! Hold on right there! Well, if wise is gauged in years...

Like I posted a couple of nights back:

Berlioz: "Time is a great teacher. Unfortunately, it kills all its pupils."
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2211. leo305
Quoting leo305:
lots of rain showers forming around the new center, and the convection is still firing based on radar rainfall increase and consistency as that band nears the center and tries to wrap on to it.

http://www.meteo.fr/temps/domtom/antilles/pack-public/animation/animMOSAIC2.html


plus it seems like the center is going to hit dominique or move just north of it in an hour or two or even 3 depending on whether or not the thing slows a bit more..
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Quoting TampaSpin:
If you all use this sheer Map it show sheer very easily...i know other are out there, but i like this one the best....




Thanks Tampa. I like that one as well. But can only read it when someone posts it big enough for me to read the numbers as you so graciously did. Lol. Woke up one day when I was 40 and couldn't see a dang thing! :)

Quoting xcool:



map go out 48hrs. & showing aqua or above using the scale at the bottom indicates unfavorable conditions development
\
homelesswanderer


Ok thanks XCOOL. :)
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Hey Levi,

Just wanted to get your opinion on my thinking earlier that possibly, this MCC could eventually develop a surface circulation. Just been watching satellite from throughout the night and the mid-level circulation associated with this MCC has been very vigorous. In addition, as someone noted earlier, it seems the 850mb vorticity maxima has shifted further south favoring the MCC as well. Just some observations and I may be wrong.
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Quoting islanderDoc:
K, guessin you're makin fun of me which is fine, just thought I say what I was seein here...


He liked your observations and thought that barometric and full wind readings would be great to get from you..,he was wishing that truly you had a full meteo set up to give us updates I think...
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2207. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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Quoting islanderDoc:
K, guessin you're makin fun of me which is fine, just thought I say what I was seein here...

No, no, no. Were just talking about how it would be nice if we had a weather station reporting from there. You being here is the next best thing, or even better. Thanks for posting any observations.
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Moderate shower right now.. began 5min ago
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2204. xcool

Wind: From ESE at 14mph
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2203. Grothar
Quoting homelesswanderer:
As the wise man (Grothar)said. Feel fortunate we live in a time where we get warnings.





1943
H2-SURPRISE HURRICANE, MID/NTH GOM,7/25-7/29, UPPTXCOAST

THIS HURRICANE WAS FIRST DETECTED ON JULY26TH. THE UNITED STATES WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR AND THERE WERE NO SATELLITES OR WEATHER RADAR. BECAUSE OF THE FEAR OF U-BOATS IN THE GULF ALL RADIO CONTACT FRON SHIPS WAS SILENCED INCLUDING STORM REPORTS. NEWSPAPER ARTICLES MENTIONED A TROPICAL STORM IN THE GOM BUT DID NOT MENTION ITS TRUE INTENSITY. THE STORM STRUCK THE BOLIVAR PENINSULA, CROSSED GALVESTON BAY, AND MADE LANDFALL FOR THE SECONG TIME NEAR THE HOUSTON SHIP CHANEL. BECAUSE OF THE WAR INTERESTS, THE WARNINGS WERE FEW AND RESIDENTS WERE CAUGHT COMPLETELY OFF GUARD. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS WERE AROUND 100 MPH. WITH HIGHER GUSTS. DAMAGE WAS SIGNIFICANT AND MAINLY WIND RELATED. THE STORM KILLED 19 PEOPLE AND COST 17 MILLION IN 1943 DOLLARS. AFTER THE LOSS OF LIFE FROM THIS STORM WEATHER INFORMATION HAS NEVER BEEN CENSORED AGAIN.


Where did you ever find that? It is true, we are very lucky.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26894
Quoting CaribBoy:
Some scattered cells are racing W or WSW on the Meteo France radar.


Lol i'm so tired that i forgot tho say the the cells in question where on the NE side of the radar...
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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.