Alex, strongest June hurricane in 44 years, is now a tropical storm

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:20 PM GMT on July 01, 2010

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Hurricane Alex, the strongest June hurricane in 44 years, is Tropical Storm Alex, thanks to passage over the rugged terrain of Mexico. Alex made landfall at 9pm CDT last night, 110 miles south of Brownsville, Texas, as a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds. Alex was the strongest June hurricane since Hurricane Alma of 1966, which had 125 mph winds as it skirted the west coast of Florida. Brownsville long-range radar shows that Alex's heavy rains continue to pound the Texas/Mexico border region, and satellite estimates of rainfall (Figure 1) show that some of Alex's spiral bands dumped rains in excess of five inches today, in addition to the 5+ inches that fell yesterday. The Brownsville airport received 6.46" of rain as of 8am CDT today from Alex. Alex is being blamed for at least thirteen deaths in Central America and Mexico due to flooding, though none of these deaths occurred in the region where the storm made landfall. Alex spawned two tornadoes that hit South Texas, and there were at least four other reports of tornado funnel clouds that did not touch ground. Alex may continue to spawn isolated tornadoes today over South Texas and northern Mexico.


Figure 1. Radar-estimated rainfall so far today for Alex.


Figure 2. Snapshot of the Brownsville long-range radar showing Hurricane Alex at landfall at 8pm CDT Wednesday June 30, 2010.


Figure 3. Alex nearing landfall in northeastern Mexico at 12:10 CDT June 30, 2010, as seen by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite. Image credit: NASA.

Storm Surge
Alex's maximum storm surge occurred along a 50-mile stretch of the Mexican coast centered about 75 miles south of Brownsville, Texas. The National Hurricane Center Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model predicted that the maximum water depth at the coast reached about 5 - 6 feet above ground level (Figure 3.) A storm surge of 1 - 2 feet was predicted by SLOSH for the Brownsville, Texas region. A storm surge of about 2 feet was observed in South Texas at the South Padre Island Coast Guard Station and Port Isabel.


Figure 4. Hurricane Alex's Maximum Water Depth (storm tide minus the elevation of the land it is passing over) computed using the primary computer model used by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to forecast storm surge--the Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model. The accuracy of the SLOSH model is advertised as plus or minus 20%. The maximum surge occurred to the right of where Alex's core made landfall, over a sparsely populated marshy area. This "Maximum Water Depth" image shows the water depth at each grid cell of the SLOSH domain. Thus, if you are inland at an elevation of five feet above mean sea level, and the combined storm surge and tide (the "storm tide") is ten feet at your location, the water depth image will show five feet of inundation. For more information on storm surge, consult our detailed storm surge pages.

Alex in historical context
Alex is the first June hurricane since Hurricane Allison of 1995. There have been only eleven hurricanes in May or June since 1945; only four of these were major Category 3 or higher storms.

Alex's bizarre behavior
Alex had several rather remarkable features I've never seen in a hurricane. Firstly, it underwent an eyewall replacement cycle as a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds. Usually, we don't see the inner eyewall collapse and an eyewall replacement cycle occur until a hurricane reaches Category 3 strength. I've seen it happen on occasion to a Category 2 storm, but never a Category 1. Secondly, after Alex's inner 9-mile diameter eyewall collapsed at 10am EDT yesterday morning, an outer spiral band began to become the new eyewall. Winds in this outer spiral band/new eywall increased as the day progressed, as typically happens in an eyewall replacement cycle. However, part way through that process, Alex suddenly reversed course, and was able to build a small inner eyewall with a 12-mile diameter that was completed by landfall. I've never seen a hurricane change its mind in the middle of an eyewall replacement cycle and build an inner eyewall so fast. Finally, Alex had an unusually weak winds, considering how low the pressure was. The pressure was more typical of a hurricane one Saffir-Simpson category stronger than what the surface winds suggested.

Elsewhere in the tropics
The latest run of the NOGAPS model predicts the formation of a tropical depression the Western Caribbean on Tuesday. None of the other models is showing tropical development worthy of concern over the coming seven days.

Wind and ocean current forecast for the BP oil disaster
Alex is continuing to generate very rough conditions over the Deepwater Horizon blowout location, with 5 - 9 foot waves and 3 - 4 foot swells. The wind and seas will gradually subside today, according to the latest marine forecast from NOAA. The resulting currents induced by Alex's strong winds will push oil to many protected bays and estuaries that haven't seen oil yet. The latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA and the State of Louisiana show oil will also move westward along the central Louisiana coast towards the Texas border. Winds will decrease to 5 - 15 knots Friday through Tuesday but remain mostly out of the southeast, keeping the pressure on the regions of coast in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi that are seeing oil hit their shores this week.

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

Next post
I'll have an update Friday morning. Dr. Rob Carver plans on summarizing Alex in his blog later today.

Jeff Masters

Hurricane Alex (LRandyB)
Weather inbound to Hurricane Alex.
Hurricane Alex

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Returning now that Internet works, pouring as hell for 36 hours straight. Parts of the city have received more than 60 cm of rain or more than 24 inches in 36 hrs.
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1091. EricSFL
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Theirs so many floridians on here that I feel almost left out.Lol.


... and Texans, and Louisianians, and Mississippians too. LOL
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surface obs now confirm a surface low pressure circulation near tallahasse,fl....
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1088. EricSFL
Quoting stormpetrol:
Good Evening everyone, would someone with alot more knowledge than me about storm/hurricane take a look at the loop of Alex , almost looks like Alex wants to turn around and head back toward the BOC.


I don't have more knowledge than you but to me Leftover Alex is moving little and losing its tropical cyclone qualities over land.
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1087. scott39
Quoting StormW:


Yep.
storm how strong do you feel about a potiential developement in the NE GOM
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well i gotta admit as much as i doubted it the NHC was dead on balls acurrate with the Alex forecast. when it started to park in the boc i was sure it was going to go more north
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Still raining in Monterey, MX.....

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1084. Patrap
Quoting msgambler:
Pat, did you get to see the vid?


Ive been vacuuming and watching/stirring my Beans.




The Mex Mts have shredded TS Alex core..
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Link accuweather predicts possible development of this low
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Quoting homelesswanderer:


Hey Tex. You floated away yet? This is nuts.



Hasn't seemed to rain much to me...maybe because it is in spurts...
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Good Evening everyone, would someone with alot more knowledge than me about storm/hurricane take a look at the loop of Alex , almost looks like Alex wants to turn around and head back toward the BOC.
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Pat, did you get to see the vid?
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the blog must be hungry, it keeps eating my link & picture post,,,,,
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Quoting Drakoen:


WTW is bolg? Maybe of the same origin as shwoing?



Bolg: first appears in print June 11, 2010. Appears to to be a neologism deriving from the words Bog and Blog and referring to a site where posters cam become ensnared in meaningless posting.

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1074. Patrap
Iz it Fetch,,or Fletch..?
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1073. Patrap
Dem 20 Knot se winds can pile up a lotta water over a few days.

Just saying
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naples
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1071. Patrap
Quoting atmoaggie:


Hmm, "CUTE" is not a common word for a forecast discussion...


Its a tad shorter than writing .."Silly Synopsis" though...
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Quoting atmoaggie:


Hmm, "CUTE" is not a common word for a forecast discussion...


Maybe why I understood it. :)
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1069. xcool
so 48 hours Development ????
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15624
Quoting Drakoen:


GFS para 18z tries to close of a low. Doesn't look like much as of now.
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Parallel GFS 84 hours, weak low in northern GOM


Regardless of a damaging wind/surge/tropical threat, just persistent 20 knot winds is bad for oil spill cleanup. And in the wrong direction really puts oil in bad places, where the tidal flushing is nonexistent.

We would be better off with the usual 15 knots, peak, during the day and calmish at night like usual. Little wave action. Oil where there is already oil. Etc.

But a low well to the east, pushes the oil out into the gulf only to be seen again as tar balls, hopefully.

So, no low, or if there has to be a low, well to the east, is what we want. (can someone put that order in?)...a low moving west past the MS river delta and maintaining 20 knot winds or better is bad, bad news for a lot of places.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Looks like some wild stuff brewing.
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I asked for rain... didn't really mean this much!!
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1065. EricSFL
Quoting floridaT:
good evening all has anyone looked at the weather at 21n 81w just south of cuba? looks like its trying to spin


What part of the state are you from?
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good evening all has anyone looked at the weather at 21n 81w just south of cuba? looks like its trying to spin
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1061. EricSFL
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Standing out on the bus stop early in the morning an be a pain in the winter.


True. lol
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Quoting TXnovice:


Where are you? I'm in Pearland. I don't know how much it has rained, but it's been steady most of the afternoon.


LC
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1058. WxLogic
Good evening...

Interesting scenarios are developing...
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1057. xcool


Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15624
Quoting txalwaysprepared:


Just about...
I'm in the pretty hot pink color. 5 inches of rain (from my gauge) in the last 24 hours and counting. It's still pouring outside.


I'm thinking maybe the boat wasnt such a bad idea. Lol.
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Houston/Galveston NWS is a little too concerned with the short term to take a good look down the road, and for good reason too!

000
FXUS64 KHGX 012015
AFDHGX

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HOUSTON/GALVESTON TX
315 PM CDT THU JUL 1 2010

...HEAVY RAIN EVENT POSSIBLE THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT...

.DISCUSSION...
A COMPLEX WEATHER PATTERN IS EVOLVING OVER SOUTHEAST TEXAS. DEEP
TROPICAL MOISTURE CONTINUES TO BE DRAWN INTO THE REGION. PARTS OF
THE REGION RECEIVED 6 TO 8 INCHES OF RAIN SO FAR TODAY. AT 19Z...A
WEAK SURFACE BOUNDARY WAS LOCATED ALONG A LCH TO BPT TO HOU TO
PSX LINE. THE BOUNDARY WILL GRADUALLY MOVE INLAND TONIGHT AND WILL
SERVE AS A FOCUS FOR ADDITIONAL SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS. WITH PW
VALUES IN EXCESS OF 2.6 INCHES...MOISTURE AVAILABILITY IS NO
PROBLEM. DETERMINING WHERE MESO BOUNDARIES SET UP IS GOING TO BE
THE HEADACHE. GFS IS MORE AGGRESSIVE THAN THE NAM WITH MOISTURE
AND INSTABILITY. 4 KM WRF PROVIDES A BREAK IN THE PRECIP THIS
EVENING WITH ADDITIONAL HEAVY PRECIP ON FRIDAY. THE ECMWF HAS A
BROAD AREA OF RAIN BUT DOES NOT SHOW THE SURFACE BOUNDARY AS A
FOCUS. AN UPPER LEVEL RIDGE WHICH HELPED STEER ALEX INTO MEXICO
WILL SHIFT EAST OVERNIGHT AND ALLOW THE MOISTURE AXIS WHICH HAS
BEEN ORIENTED EAST-WEST TO PIVOT TO THE NORTH AND BECOME
ORIENTED NORTHWEST TO SOUTHEAST ALONG THE I-45/HWY 290 CORRIDOR.
FEEL BEST CHANCES FOR RAIN WILL OCCUR ALONG THIS AXIS LATE TONIGHT
INTO FRIDAY. AS FOR AMOUNTS...BEST GUESS IS AN ADDITIONAL 3 TO 5
INCHES OF RAIN WITH SOME ISOLATED 6 TO 8 INCH RAINFALL AMOUNTS.
AGREE WITH HPC`S QPFERD DISCUSSION. HAVE LEANED HEAVILY TOWARD THE
SREF MEAN MAX PRECIP FIELD FOR GUIDANCE ON THIS HEAVY RAIN EVENT.
THIS FLOOD WATCH MAY NEED TO BE EXPANDED INTO THE NORTHWEST ZONES
LATER THIS EVENING IF HEAVY RAIN BEGINS OVER THAT PART OF
SOUTHEAST TEXAS. THUS FAR...THE NW ZONES HAVE NOT RECEIVED MUCH IN
THE WAY OF HEAVY RAIN SO WILL HOLD THEM OUT OF THE WATCH FOR NOW.

DEEP MOISTURE WILL GRADUALLY LOWER OVER THE WEEKEND BUT WILL
REMAIN SUFFICIENT TO TRIGGER DIURNAL SHOWERS AND STORMS WITH
HEATING. DON`T THINK SAT-MON WILL BE A WASH-OUT BUT OUTDOOR
ACTIVITIES COULD BE INTERRUPTED BY A SHOWER. SLIGHTLY LOWER
HEIGHTS AND A CONTINUED TAP OF DEEP MOISTURE WILL KEEP RAIN
CHANCES IN THE FORECAST THROUGH MUCH OF NEXT WEEK. 43

&&

MARINE...
SLIGHTLY WEAKENING EASTERLIES OF BETWEEN 15-20G25KT WILL PERSIST
THROUGH EARLY FRIDAY. NEAR SHORE SEA HEIGHTS OF BETWEEN 6 TO 8 FEET
WITH 5 SECOND PERIODS...AND 9 TO 11 FOOT OFFSHORE SEAS WITH 7 SECOND
PERIODS...WILL OCCUR THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING. THE BAY AND 0-20 NM
NEAR SHORE SCA WILL BE IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 AM CDT FRIDAY...THEN A SCEC
OUT FOR THESE WATERS THROUGH FRIDAY. DUE TO THE SLOW NATURE OF
SUBSIDING FAR OFFSHORE SWELL...THE 20-60 NM OFFSHORE SCA WILL
CONTINUE THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING. EXPECT A SIGNIFICANT DECREASE IN
WIND TOMORROW INTO THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND...GULF AVERAGE SEA STATE WILL
BE AROUND 3 TO 4 FEET ON THE FOURTH OF JULY UNDER LIGHT E-SE BREEZES.

THE COASTAL FLOOD WARNING CONTINUES THROUGH EARLY FRIDAY MORNING.
GULF-FACING AND WESTERN GALVESTON BAY SHORES WILL EXPERIENCE AROUND
3 FOOT HIGH TIDE WATER LEVELS (REFERENCED TO MLLW). WHILE INTERIOR
BAY/INLET LOCALES EXPERIENCE NEAR 2 FOOT HIGH TIDE WATER LEVELS.
PLEASE REFER TO THE CFWHGX PRODUCT FOR SPECIFIC WATER LEVELS AND
TIDE TIMES THROUGH FRIDAY. THE NORMAL TIDE PRODUCT WILL RESUME ONCE
THE COASTAL FLOOD WARNING EXPIRES. 31


.PRELIMINARY POINT TEMPS/POPS...
COLLEGE STATION (CLL) 76 87 78 89 78 / 60 70 40 40 20
HOUSTON (IAH) 78 87 78 89 78 / 60 80 40 40 20
GALVESTON (GLS) 82 85 82 85 82 / 70 80 40 40 30

&&

.HGX WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES...
TX...COASTAL FLOOD WARNING UNTIL 7 AM CDT FRIDAY FOR THE FOLLOWING
ZONES: BRAZORIA...CHAMBERS...GALVESTON...HARRIS...JACKSON...
MATAGORDA.

FLASH FLOOD WATCH THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING FOR THE FOLLOWING
ZONES: AUSTIN...BRAZORIA...CHAMBERS...COLORADO...FORT
BEND...GALVESTON...HARRIS...JACKSON...MATAGORDA...WALLER...
WHARTON.

GM...SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY UNTIL 7 AM CDT FRIDAY FOR THE FOLLOWING
ZONES: GALVESTON BAY...MATAGORDA BAY...WATERS FROM FREEPORT
TO THE MATAGORDA SHIP CHANNEL OUT 20 NM...WATERS FROM HIGH
ISLAND TO FREEPORT OUT 20 NM.

SMALL CRAFT SHOULD EXERCISE CAUTION FROM FRIDAY MORNING THROUGH
SATURDAY MORNING FOR THE FOLLOWING ZONES: GALVESTON BAY...
MATAGORDA BAY...WATERS FROM FREEPORT TO THE MATAGORDA SHIP
CHANNEL OUT 20 NM...WATERS FROM HIGH ISLAND TO FREEPORT OUT
20 NM.

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY UNTIL 1 PM CDT SATURDAY FOR THE FOLLOWING
ZONES: WATERS FROM FREEPORT TO THE MATAGORDA SHIP CHANNEL
20 NM TO 60 NM...WATERS FROM HIGH ISLAND TO FREEPORT 20 TO
60 NM.

&&

$$

DISCUSSION...43



Running Storm Total
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1054. IKE
I'm not saying the GFS is correct. New GFS did better with Alex, but the original GFS is consistent with a small low in the NE GOM. At 114 hours...

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1053. Drakoen
Quoting atmoaggie:
Yeah, and that might be all we'll see.

I dunno.


GFS para 18z tries to close of a low. Doesn't look like much as of now.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29905
Parallel GFS 84 hours, weak low in northern GOM


Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 10883
1050. Ossqss
Interesting view ...

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Quoting homelesswanderer:
INDEED A QUESTION TODAY AS LONG-RANGE MODEL GUIDANCE IS ALL OVER
THE ENVELOPE IN RELATION TO SOLUTIONS...THE MOST INTERESTING BEING
THE GFS DEVELOPING A SIGNIFICANT LOW OFF MOBILE BAY SUNDAY THEN
MEANDERING IT AROUND THE N-CNTL GULF COAST THROUGH NEXT WEEK. DID
NOT TRY TO GET CUTE ...


Hmm, "CUTE" is not a common word for a forecast discussion...
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Elsewhere in the tropics, there are a few tropical waves, but any development through the Atlantic is not expected. There is a high level trough axis dipping down through the Caribbean to the south and Cuba. There appears to be a weak tropical wave moving out at about 55-60 west to the south of 20 north and another wave out near 35 west. Neither of these waves is expected to develop in the near future though the easternmost wave will have to be watched when it comes eastward into the Caribbean early next week. An area of minor concern for development would be watching in the coming days along the Gulf coast or off the East Coast of the United Statse along and near the front stretching across the area.



By AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Dave Houk


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Quoting Drakoen:
All I see is a big baroclinic mess draped across the northern GOM.
Yeah, and that might be all we'll see.

I dunno.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Looks like things will stay wet for awhile.
Lake Charles

MOISTURE WILL START GRADUALLY DIMINISHING BY SATURDAY ALTHOUGH
ENOUGH WILL REMAIN TO HELP PRODUCE DIURNALLY DRIVEN CONVECTION
THROUGH THE REMAINDER OF THE FORECAST PERIOD. EXACT POPS ARE
INDEED A QUESTION TODAY AS LONG-RANGE MODEL GUIDANCE IS ALL OVER
THE ENVELOPE IN RELATION TO SOLUTIONS...THE MOST INTERESTING BEING
THE GFS DEVELOPING A SIGNIFICANT LOW OFF MOBILE BAY SUNDAY THEN
MEANDERING IT AROUND THE N-CNTL GULF COAST THROUGH NEXT WEEK. DID
NOT TRY TO GET CUTE AND JUST LEFT BLANKET SMALL CHANCE POPS IN THE
FORECAST FOR NOW. LIKEWISE AS PRECIP COVERAGE DIMINISHES
TEMPERATURES WILL BE ON THE RISE WITH HIGHS BACK INTO THE LOWER TO
MID 90S EXPECTED BY EARLY NEXT WEEK


CHANNEL 12

Good Evening Southeast Texas!

The Heavy rainfall threat continues for Southeast Texas through Friday...

12 Hurricane Tracker 12 Interactive, Street-Level Radar

A few feeder bands associated with Alex continue to affect Southeast Texas. New model data shows very heavy rainfall over Southeast Texas Friday. By the weekend, drier weather is expected with scattered showers and thunderstorms for Friday. Sunday looks mainly dry weather is expected with highs warming to near-ninety. Tuesday and Wednesday, a tropical wave will move into Southeast Texas which will enhance rainfall once again.

Long-range models show possible tropical development on the 9th in the Bay of Campeche with another storm moving into the Gulf of Mexico on the 11th.



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We have a high surf advisory in Panama City now. They said we had a few eight footers today but 4-6ft is expected. The oil clean up crews haven't been working for a few days now.
Member Since: June 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 760
oops!
Member Since: September 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1793
1043. EricSFL
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
I might just move down their when I get older.However the only thing holding me back is the hurricanes.


I actually enjoy the beautiful weather during winter here in S FL. But trust me, one is better off fighting the cold than fighting heat!
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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