Tropical Storm Alex bears down on the Yucatan; extreme heat for Africa and Russia

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:12 PM GMT on June 26, 2010

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The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season of 2010 is here. Tropical Storm Alex formed last might from an African tropical wave that plowed through the Caribbean this week. Alex's formation location is a typical one for June tropical storms, and the formation date of June 25 is also a fairly typical date for the first storm of the season to form (we average about one June named storm every two years in the Atlantic.) Heavy rainfall will ramp up through the day in Honduras, Belize, and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, as Alex continues to intensify, and flooding from these heavy rains will be the main concern from Alex today and Sunday. Satellite loops show that Alex's heavy thunderstorm are growing in intensity and areal coverage at a respectable pace. There is an upper-level high pressure system a few hundred miles west of Alex, and the clockwise flow air around this high is bringing upper-level winds out of the northwest of about 10 knots over the storm, contributing to the 10 knots of wind shear observed in this morning's wind shear analysis from the University of Wisconsin's CIMSS group. Sea Surface Temperatures are very warm, 29 - 30°C, and dry air is not a problem for Alex. We currently don't have a Hurricane Hunter aircraft in the storm, so we will have to wait until 2pm this afternoon to get an updated estimate of Alex's surface winds. The latest satellite estimates of Alex's winds at 8am EDT put the storm's strongest winds at 40 mph.


Figure 1. Satellite image of the tropics at 9am EDT Saturday 6/26/10. Image credit: GOES Science Project.

Forecast for Alex
As I discussed in last night's post, an examination of the nineteen tropical cyclones that have formed in the Western Caribbean and hit the Yucatan Peninsula over the past twenty years reveals that 8 went on to make a second Gulf Coast landfall in Mexico, 5 hit the U.S. Gulf Coast, and 6 died after hitting the Yucatan. The ones that died all took a more southerly path across the Yucatan, spending more time over land than Alex will. Alex is large enough and moving far enough north across the Yucatan that passage over the peninsula will not kill it. So, will Alex follow the path climatology says is more likely, and make a second landfall along the Mexican Gulf Coast?


Figure 2. Forecast swath of tropical storm force winds (34 - 63 knots, green colors) and hurricane force winds (yellow and orange colors) as predicted by this morning's 2am EDT run of the HWRF model. Image credit: Morris Bender, NOAA GFDL team.

The key question remains how Alex will react to the trough of low pressure expected to swing down over the Eastern U.S. on Monday. Some of yesterday's model runs predicted that this trough would be strong enough to pull Alex northwards through the oil slick region into the northern Gulf of Mexico coast. However, the models that were predicting this (the GFS, GFDL, and HWRF models) are all backing off on that prediction. It now appears likely that Alex will cross the Yucatan, emerge into the Gulf of Mexico, then slow down as the trough to its north weakens the steering currents in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday. By Tuesday, the influence of the trough will wane, high pressure will build in, and Alex will resume a west-northwest, or possibly a due west or west-southwest motion, towards the Texas/Mexico border region. Based on the current trends in the models, Alex's tropical storm force winds are likely to stay well south of the oil slick region (Figure 2.) I put the odds of Alex bringing tropical storm-force winds to the oil slick region at 10%. The most significant impact Alex will likely have on the oil slick region is to bring 2 - 4 foot swells that may wash oil over some of the containment booms. These swells will reach the oil slick region on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Continued intensification of Alex is likely today, up until landfall. It is a good thing the storm waited until last night to get organized; had it formed a day earlier, it could have easily been a hurricane in the Western Caribbean today. Once Alex emerges back into the Gulf of Mexico on Monday, it will likely take the storm at least 24 hours to get re-organized, particularly since the total ocean heat content is low for the 100-mile-wide stretch of water on the west side of the Yucatan Peninsula. Once Alex moves more than 100 miles from the Yucatan, total heat content of the ocean increases substantially, and Alex will have the opportunity to intensify significantly. Steering currents will be weak in the Gulf next week, and it appears that Alex will have time to intensify into a hurricane before making its second landfall along the South Texas/northern Mexico coast. Wind shear is expected to be light, and dry air not a significant impediment. Most of the models are calling for landfall on Wednesday, but I wouldn't be surprised to see this delayed until Thursday. I give Alex a 60% chance of becoming a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico next week.

Elsewhere in the tropics
A tropical wave (Invest 94L) is a few hundred miles northeast of the northernmost Lesser Antilles Islands. This wave is producing a modest amount of heavy thunderstorm activity, and is passing beneath a trough of low pressure that is generating 30 - 40 knots of wind shear, and is not a threat to develop today. However, by Monday, the storm will be in a region of much lower wind shear, and NHC is giving the storm a 10% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Monday morning. None of the models currently develop 94L, but Bermuda should keep and eye on this system, as it will pass very close to the island on Tuesday.

Extreme heat wave in Africa and Asia continues to set all-time high temperature records
A withering heat wave of unprecedented intensity and areal covered continues to smash all-time high temperatures Asia and Africa. As I reported earlier this week, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Chad, Niger, Pakistan, and Myanmar have all set new records for their hottest temperatures of all time over the past six weeks. The remarkable heat continued over Africa and Asia late this week. The Asian portion of Russia recorded its highest temperate in history yesterday, when the mercury hit 42.3°C (108.1°F) at Belogorsk, near the Amur River border with China. The previous record was 41.7°C (107.1°F) at nearby Aksha on July 21, 2004. (The record for European Russia is 43.8°C--110.8°F--set on August 6, 1940, at Alexandrov Gaj near the border with Kazakhstan.) Also, on Thursday, Sudan recorded its hottest temperature in its history when the mercury rose to 49.6°C (121.3°F) at Dongola. The previous record was 49.5°C (121.1°F) set in July 1987 in Aba Hamed.

We've now had eight countries in Asia and Africa, plus the Asian portion of Russia, that have beaten their all-time hottest temperature record during the past two months. This includes Asia's hottest temperature of all-time, the astonishing 53.5°C (128.3°F) mark set on May 26 in Pakistan. All of these records are unofficial, and will need to be certified by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). According to Chris Burt, author of Extreme Weather, the only year which can compare is 2003, when six countries (the UK, France, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein) all broke their all-time heat records during that year's notorious summer heat wave. Fortunately, the residents of the countries affected by this summer's heat wave in Asia and Africa are more adapted to extreme high temperatures, and we are not seeing the kind of death tolls experienced during the 2003 European heat wave (30,000 killed.) This week's heat wave in Africa and the Middle East is partially a consequence of the fact that Earth has now seen three straight months with its warmest temperatures on record, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. It will be interesting to see if the demise of El Niño in May will keep June from becoming the globe's fourth straight warmest month on record.

Wind and ocean current forecast for the BP oil disaster
East to southeast winds of 5 - 15 knots will blow in the northern Gulf of Mexico today through Wednesday, according to the latest marine forecast from NOAA. The resulting weak ocean currents should push the oil to the west and northwest onto portions of the Louisiana and Alabama coasts, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA and the State of Louisiana. I would expect Mississippi to have its most serious threat of oil yet early next week as these winds continue. The long range outlook shows a continuation of east to southeast winds along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast.

Resources for the BP oil disaster
Map of oil spill location from the NOAA Satellite Services Division
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's interactive mapping tool to overlay wind and ocean current forecasts, oil locations, 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

Wunderground's severe weather expert Dr. Rob Carver will likely be posting at least one update on Alex this weekend. My next update will be Sunday morning.

Jeff Masters

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1799. tkeith
Quoting Tazmanian:
ok all could we may be get back too are name storms and poor 94L thats not geting any love at all
It may be time for a group hug Taz :)
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Not sure if this has already been discussed, but the GFDL is spinning up another tropical cyclone near South Carolina in association with moisture from Alex. Real interesting thing, that could play out given the amount of moisture Alex currently has associated with it.

The breakaway:


The storm:
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
Quoting KoritheMan:


I feel you on this. I was without it for five days following Gustav, and I was one of the lucky ones. Ugh.


Same here - I was down by LSU. Luckily can't let 15,000 kids or whatever be on campus without power for too darn long. But man those 5 days were bad. Luckily work had power - the refinery lost power during the height of the storm in the afternoon but got it back that night.

I'll never forget that day - we shut the whole complex down in the eye wall. Unbelievable.
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Quoting Jeff9641:


Try 27 days IKE. The night were the worst for me. After a storm hits it's more humid than ever before. Days weren't bad as it stormed every afternoon.

over a month was the longest without for me.
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1794. IKE
Quoting Patrap:


A good choice and the right choice always is to Hit the Highway before and esp when told to.

Best to be inconvenienced a few days than to suffer the other.

The other aint swell,neat,..cool..nor phun at all.

Once the winds and rain stops.

The thrill fades really fast after a Major.


That's exactly what I do...I leave. I've gone 100 miles east of here to avoid Opal. I left for Ivan and Dennis.
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1793. scott39
Quoting Patrap:
93L has that Wet big Dowser CDO on the South Side KOTG.




Hopefully it will collapse inland tonight. But Im concerned as that Envelope creeps ever so more Wnw ..

We can still get a collapsing Southern Vortex and nuther one ,..well..

I wont go there just yet
hmm
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Strangely quiet on Caye Caulker...
By Barry Beer
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 2010 14:25:48 -0600

Just a quick update:

- the high winds (gusts to 38 mph) have passed for the moment and it's strangely quiet
- the wind has shifted to the east for the last 30 minutes, but now it's coming back around to the north
- barometer is now 1002.1 and falling...
- more later...


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Quoting shakaka:


The kiddies post every 30s when nothing is going on lol. Love that ignore feature, probably chops 2 pages off of 10 pages of blog responses.


You better believe it...nothing works so well for an "It's going to be this big and hit here" headache than a well placed poof
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Quoting KoritheMan:


And then came along Jeanne. lol


That one was supposed to hit me directly, instead it hit the same area Frances hit..
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
1789. xcool
ilove hot weather
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15626
1788. IKE
Quoting Jeff9641:


Try 27 days IKE. The night were the worst for me. After a storm hits it's more humid than ever before. Days weren't bad as it stormed every afternoon.


No thanks. I've never been through 27 days worth. About 2 after Ivan. That was more than enough for me.
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Quoting Floodman:


Oh, eyes, you're too kind...took me 40 years to get to that point...Jeanne did it for me...it was interesting to say the least...
I have seen it written in this blog that some think you were 5 when dinasours were walking this earth. So I was just trying to put some balance.

As For "and there is us" ..Too Funny!!!
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1786. GBguy88
Quoting KoritheMan:


I feel you on this. I was without it for five days following Gustav, and I was one of the lucky ones. Ugh.


Quoting seflagamma:




????? what on Earth does our getting hit by a storm have anything to do with what you are talking about? I did not say I would rather a storm hit a "developing nation" or people without homes.


I just find it interesting that so many people can't stand the idea of going without A/C for a little while, or taking cold showers, or any other post hurricane activity that isn't going to harm or kill you. You've made it through the storm, house intact, family intact...far better off than a large majority of people, but still wanting every luxury to which you've become accustomed. Rather than being thankful for the ability to recover, many people choose to linger on the luxuries that have been lost.
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Well were are all those early models taking in north. Models are crap. Hell I can tell u where its going after the fact. Same as human forecasting. I myself just watch radar and if it has a Chance to effect me then I will act accordingly. U could Drive urself crazy with all the maybe's and mights.
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gfs wundergroud develops a storm july4th in the central gulf coast
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Quoting Tazmanian:
i want a cat 15 too hit me i want to se a hurricane nevere been in one befor


No....you don't
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1782. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15626
1781. Patrap
Quoting IKE:


I can't handle the heat and humidity for days. I can work in the yard, but it's the convenience of knowing I can walk inside and cool off.

After a TS or cane it's almost always like a sponge bath outside. Without electricity that comes inside. It's unbearable.


A good choice and the right choice always is to Hit the Highway before and esp when told to.

Best to be inconvenienced a few days than to suffer the other.

The other aint swell,neat,..cool..nor phun at all.

Once the winds and rain stops.

The thrill fades really fast after a Major.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1780. shakaka
Quoting Floodman:


I will say this: the genuine scientist types around here stay calm and even toned...they make their observations and give their predicitons on a fairly regular pace...the "weather kiddies" get strident and post once every 30 seconds...LOL


The kiddies post every 30s when nothing is going on lol. Love that ignore feature, probably chops 2 pages off of 10 pages of blog responses.
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When I was really young. Till after my freshmen year in high school. I wanted storms to hit my area so school would be canceled. Now I know better.

Most people on here wouldn't mind getting hit by a weak disorganized tropical system. Ernesto's hit on S Fla in 2006 is an example of one of those.

On the flip side, I'd be worried if a strengthening 40mph TS hit me. Not for the wind but the insane amount of rain it could produce, especially since there is a drainage canal near me that has overflowed its banks twice in my lifetime.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3710
Quoting reedzone:


After Hurricane Frances hit, I was out fo power for a week, and we were on the northern fringes of the storm, sustained winds of 50-60 mph.


And then came along Jeanne. lol
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1776. 900MB
East Coast SSTs starting to freak me out. Already 85 degrees in the Gulf Stream and even here in NYC the bay is over 75 degrees. This is like August numbers.
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Quoting reedzone:


It's simple, land disrupts circulation, new one forms in a better spot. I've seen it with many tropical storms that move off the Yucatan. I believe Dolly in 2008 was one of them, but I could be wrong.


Yes I believe Cindy and Keith also did the same, it can be a game changer for sure.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
1774. xcool
hmm eye
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15626
Quoting KoritheMan:


I feel you on this. I was without it for five days following Gustav, and I was one of the lucky ones. Ugh.


After Hurricane Frances hit, I was out fo power for a week, and we were on the northern fringes of the storm, sustained winds of 50-60 mph.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
I hope a cat 5 hurricane hits Taz too. Maybe then he'll understand why it's not cool to wish deadly weather on anyone. Or maybe not.
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ok all could we may be get back too are name storms and poor 94L thats not geting any love at all
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114785
1770. IKE
Quoting Patrap:


In 2005 Ike..we lost approx 50 % to the Water,..50 % to the Heat first 7 days post Storm.

Its the toll taker for the very young,and elderly.


I can't handle the heat and humidity for days. I can work in the yard, but it's the convenience of knowing I can walk inside and cool off.

After a TS or cane it's almost always like a sponge bath outside. Without electricity that comes inside. It's unbearable.
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New RUC model seems to collaborate well with NHC track:



Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
1768. OneDay
My thoughts on Alex in my blog.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


I really hope you're not trying to deny the fact that you've been wishing a storm upon yourself. You said you were following the "models" moving back up north. I've seen ONE model move north and that is the NAM, an extremely unreliable model. The EURO probably has this one correct again. Don't think just because there is a trof digging down in the 4 corners region that Alex will automatically go north of the forecast track. Do you think the models don't take that into consideration? Stop wishing death and destruction on your city.
well if you look at the water vapor loop,you can see the upper level flow already turning from the southwest,in the texas panhandle.the stronger alex gets when he hits the gulf,the more north he will go.just seems logical!!
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
Oh yes. I absolutely agree. We have a couple of youngsters, Drak and Levi, who are good mets-to-be and genuinely interested no matter what. And many others who are knowledgable in some way and even-handed. But 90%+ of the posts from the rest of the blog are just ones wishing and hoping for a perfect storm with no regard for the human or monetary toll.


I'd wager that's not true for most. You're being a little unfair there.
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Quoting MrstormX:
Reed I like your forecast, why? Because you are one of the few people who has mentioned the possibility of COC relocation in the GOM, often that can change the entire track of the storm. Good fair job


It's simple, land disrupts circulation, new one forms in a better spot. I've seen it with many tropical storms that move off the Yucatan. I believe Dolly in 2008 was one of them, but I could be wrong.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
94L is this doing find on its way of being are next storm

Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114785
Quoting Houstonia:

oh maybe it's the full moon rising in me, but please stop cursing the "wishcasters" Inside every fireman is someone who loved to chase fire engines. Inside every police officer is a kid who was probably fascinated with guns... inside every lawyer is an ambulance chaser... (hahha.. that last one was a joke).

My point is - if someone who wishes storms upon himself gives way to someone who can accurately predict a storm - so be it. And even if they wind up NOT being able to predict a storm - SO WHAT - we are a MODERN PEOPLE - full of technological advances!! Stop being so superstitious and let them wishcast if they'd like!!

sighed - a "survivor" of Alicia, Allison, and Ike - who hopes never to see another storm in her neighborhood but who probably will.


I take my hat off to you, ma'am.
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..
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
Oh yes. I absolutely agree. We have a couple of youngsters, Drak and Levi, who are good mets-to-be and genuinely interested no matter what. And many others who are knowledgable in some way and even-handed. But 90%+ of the posts from the rest of the blog are just ones wishing and hoping for a perfect storm with no regard for the human or monetary toll.


Then there's us...LOL
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1760. Patrap
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Quoting IKE:


True.

First off I hate not having electricity. I would go crazy without AC for days or weeks.


I feel you on this. I was without it for five days following Gustav, and I was one of the lucky ones. Ugh.
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Quoting eyesontheweather:
Hey Flood,good seeing you. So 20 yrs after running into the yard you have learned to keep your distance.....


Oh, eyes, you're too kind...took me 40 years to get to that point...Jeanne did it for me...it was interesting to say the least...
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Quoting Floodman:


I will say this: the genuine scientist types around here stay calm and even toned...they make their observations and give their predicitons on a fairly regular pace...the "weather kiddies" get strident and post once every 30 seconds...LOL
Oh yes. I absolutely agree. We have a couple of youngsters, Drak and Levi, who are good mets-to-be and genuinely interested no matter what. And many others who are knowledgable in some way and even-handed. But 90%+ of the posts from the rest of the blog are just ones wishing and hoping for a perfect storm with no regard for the human or monetary toll.
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Reed I like your forecast, why? Because you are one of the few people who has mentioned the possibility of COC relocation in the GOM, often that can change the entire track of the storm. Good fair job
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
1720, your parents must live in SW or SE Florida huh? LOL


Thanks for the comments on my comment.
You all know what I'm talking about...

now even our grown kids..they want a storm...
the son and son in law stand to make alot of money when a storm hits our area...
but hubby reminds them, they make money, he loses money..do they want to share all their o/t money with Dad? LOL

finally we can get a post in here! LOL

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oh maybe it's the full moon rising in me, but please stop cursing the "wishcasters" Inside every fireman is someone who loved to chase fire engines. Inside every police officer is a kid who was probably fascinated with guns... inside every lawyer is an ambulance chaser... (hahha.. that last one was a joke).

My point is - if someone who wishes storms upon himself gives way to someone who can accurately predict a storm - so be it. And even if they wind up NOT being able to predict a storm - SO WHAT - we are a MODERN PEOPLE - full of technological advances!! Stop being so superstitious and let them wishcast if they'd like!!

sighed - a "survivor" of Alicia, Allison, and Ike - who hopes never to see another storm in her neighborhood but who probably will.
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1752. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting reedzone:


I could darn easily be wrong, but so can the NHC. NOthing is written in stone. First we need to see if Alex goes off the Yucatan and see which direction it moves.


its going exactly
where i tell it to go and thats forward

lol
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Quoting Floodman:


For me it was being 5 and watching a tornado take out the block behind my house...14 more tornados, 2 hurricanes and numerous TS, TD and supercells later I'm still thrilled, but not as apt to runout in the yard and watch


Haha, I've never been through a tornado, myself, fortunately, even despite having endured numerous hurricanes over the years.

I share your sentiment about not wanting to stand outside in a tornado, though. That's one meteorological phenomenon I'd... rather not see.
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1750. GBguy88
Quoting seflagamma:
Actually no, I do not want to be hit again...
Wilma cost us $10,000 out of our own pocket that was not covered by anything...and our home was not damaged...that was just damage to yard and fences and having tree roots dug up by big cranes, etc.

my hubby is self employed and he lost 2 weeks of work because no power at his shop...
and my work reopened immediately so I could not even stay home to help clean up the mess.. and had to take cold showers getting ready for work...

I am ok not being hit anymore in my lifetime.

Plus have been afected by many others others besides Wilma over the past 31 years living here in the Ft Lauderdale area...



Many people in developing nations don't have a house to insure or a company to offer such a service, much less access to clean, running water. Many of those nations face the same disasters as the United States. Count your blessings :)
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1749. Patrap
Quoting IKE:


True.

First off I hate not having electricity. I would go crazy without AC for days or weeks.


In 2005 Ike..we lost approx 50 % to the Water,..50 % to the Heat first 7 days post Storm.

Its the toll taker for the very young,and elderly.
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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.