The Northeast Heatwave

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:08 AM GMT on July 07, 2010

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Hi, Dr. Rob Carver, filling in for Jeff while he's on vacation.

The most significant weather event in the US on July 6, 2010 didn't show up on any radar. The geostationary satellites didn't see it in their constant watch over the Earth's atmosphere. Instead, the tale of this event was told by the thermometers, because the heatwave in the Northeast was the most significant event for July 6, and it will likely be the most important weather story for July 7.

The heat wave covers Pennsylvania to Maine, but Tuesday's worst was centered over New York City. All six of the stations used by the New York NWS office for climate reports (Central Park, La Guardia, JFK, Islip, Bridgeport, and Newark) set or tied the daily high temperature record. Newark and Central Park both reached 103 degrees F.

How unusual is this heat wave?
Figures 1 and 2 show how warm the highs and lows are compared to 30 year averages. Unless you were at the Great Lakes, the Midwest and Northeast have highs well above normal, with 10-15+ degree F differences over the coastal cities of the Northeast. Using my gridded temperature data, the low for New York City was 6 degrees F above normal, which should happen 30% of the time (1.1 standard deviations away from normal). The high was roughly 20 degrees above normal, which should happen only 0.29% of the time (3.04 standard deviations away from normal). This is an unusually strong heat wave.

Why it's hot
Basically, it's because there is "the Bull of a high pressure ridge [over the NE US]" to quote the Mount Holly NWS office forecast discussion. The large ridge of high pressure is forcing air to slowly descend across the Northeast, preventing clouds from forming. Without no clouds and plenty of daylight, the Sun heats the ground which then heats the air.

When will it cool down?
That's an excellent question. A trough of low pressure off the coast will bring onshore winds to the Tri-State area and MA by Thursday, so they should cool down a bit. The southern part of the heat wave, DC and Philadelphia, will have to wait for a cold front to arrive from the Great Lakes sometime Saturday to get relief.

Population affected
As Figure 3 shows, heat advisories covered most of the urban areas of the northeastern US. By my calculations, over 32 million people were under a heat advisory. Different offices have different guidelines for heat advisories. The NWS office responsible for New York issues a heat advisory if the heat index will be above 95 deg. F for two or more days or if the index will be above 100 deg. F for any length of time.


Fig.1 Plot of the difference between maximum temperature (the high for the day) and average maximum temperature in degrees F for July 6.


Fig.2 Plot of the difference between minimum temperature (the low for the day) and average minimum temperature in degrees F for July 6.


Fig.3 Plot of the active heat advisories across the northeastern US for July 6.

Heatwave impacts
The predominant impact from heat waves is increased mortality. CDC estimates that over 8,000 people died during heat waves from 1979 to 2003. That's more than all of the deaths due to lightning, flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes. The elderly, sick, poor, and very young face the worst of the effects of the heat. Wikipedia has an interesting article describing the Chicago Heat Wave of 1995, a modern heat wave with a large number of fatalities due to the heat.

Heatwave coping strategies
The Centers for Disease Control have some tips for dealing with the heat. In summary, drink plenty of water, spend time in air-conditioned buildings, and wear light-colored clothing.

Is this heat wave due to global warming?
Ah, the $64,000 question. In the absence of detailed analysis, it's hard to specify the exact cause for this heat wave, from a meteorological or climatological view point. However, events like this are consistent with research showing that heat waves are more likely with
global warming
. I like the metaphor of loaded dice, global warming is not specifically responsible for any heat wave, but it will make them happen more often.

Tropics
My thinking on Invest 96L is unchanged from this blog entry. In summary, I believe that 96L has a <50 % chance becoming a tropical cyclone before it makes landfall. If it does so, it will likely be near the coast when that happens. In any event though, the winds and waves it generates will likely disrupt oil spill recovery efforts. Also, I would expect a broad area of showers and 20+ mph winds will affect the Gulf coast somewhere from south Texas to Louisiana.

Next update
I'll have an update this afternoon to talk about the tropics.

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Quoting robert88:
What a lull we are in now. The entire globe has barely any convection. The SAL is the strongest it has been all year with bright pinks showing up now. It's wild how quick things can change in the tropics. GFS shows the pattern not changing for quite awhile. The ECMWF looks to be a bust with 23 named storms right now. August and September are going to have to be real busy. If the TUTT doesn't pull out until late August/September the season could be average or slightly below. We shall see.


Ugh.. someone pull out "the chart"
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting 7544:
hi all hmm nice blob around 23n 70 west could this become 97l and if so with the high just above it would it pushed it west also if it did form tia

Thats the top part of the waves that came over us Saturday. The Low off the east coast sucked all the convection north over the weekend. Keeping an eye on it. Some chance of development but it is already re-curving and will head out to sea towards Bermuda. More subtropical than anything
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585. BDAwx
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


You like, just killed the blog. Either that or my computer lol

sorry!!! :)
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Quoting LoneStarWeather:

The message being sent to them is an important one: it is not their place to determine whose inquiry is relevant or "legitimate". Science is about truth and if what you propose is the truth then all inquiries should be welcome and accepted.


To be fair, it was not without good cause. They've been facing a huge storm of people with no credentials in and little familiarity with the science, motivated by blogs and pundits, to try to find fault with global warming. That's something that scientists in other fields don't face. These people usually do lousy analysis, not understanding the most rudimentary aspects of the field, and then publish their un-peer-reviewed "AHA!" all over the net. One of the "Climategate" scientists who was encouraging others to find ways to turn down requests once had his partner sued for fraud by a day trader who fancied himself a climate scientist. So basically they want to work with these people about as much as they want their teeth drilled.

But that said, as you note, it's not their call. They don't get to pick and choose who they consider legitimate. These are the cards you're dealt. If you want to be a scientist in a controversial field, you need to have a thick skin and be willing to put up with this sort of stuff. Evolutionary biologists have been dealing with it for a century and a half.
Member Since: September 7, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 940
Quoting Levi32:
96L is pulling itself together in the area of greatest pressure falls, and this is where, if it can overcome the dry air to its west, it will really start to develop. This is nothing more than a westward shift of what happened with Alex 2 weeks ago down in the Caribbean. Because of that, 96L doesn't have the kind of time it needs to become something vicious before running into North America like Alex did.



I still think this will get renumbered, but do you think it will have a shot at becoming the B storm, or do you think this is a depression max. I know it's kind of a specific question since the difference between a TD and a weak TS is so little. But what are your thoughts?
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
If any of you has a talent for...and interest in...this sort of thing, please let us know...Thanks!!
Link
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What a lull we are in now. The entire globe has barely any convection. The SAL is the strongest it has been all year with bright pinks showing up now. It's wild how quick things can change in the tropics. GFS shows the pattern not changing for quite awhile. The ECMWF looks to be a bust with 23 named storms right now. August and September are going to have to be real busy. If the TUTT doesn't pull out until late August/September the season could be average or slightly below. We shall see.
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Quoting NRAamy:
with the heat wave, are we anticipating any shower curtains cut up into speedos?


Thanks NRAamy - That painted a wonderful picture in my mind...
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10414
Quoting txag91met:
You mean pressure anomalies???


Yes, they represent the area where the greatest pressure falls are occurring relative to normal.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26654
578. Daveg
Quoting winter123:
96L is moving so fast it's gonna be inland by tomorrow morning. I don't see how it has a chance with how unorganized it is now.


Part of that is deceiving. It's not moving as fast as the flaring convection makes it look like it is.
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Quoting BDAwx:
so wait. these weren't attached to fronts?
Chantal 2007

Wilma 2005

Alex 2004

Otto 2004

Erika 2003

Arthur 2002

Dolly 2002

Isidore 2002

Erin 2001

Felix 2001


or does the front rule only apply to developing systems?


You like, just killed the blog. Either that or my computer lol
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting Levi32:
96L is pulling itself together in the area of greatest pressure falls, and this is where, if it can overcome the dry air to its west, it will really start to develop. This is nothing more than a westward shift of what happened with Alex 2 weeks ago down in the Caribbean. Because of that, 96L doesn't have the kind of time it needs to become something vicious before running into North America like Alex did.



You mean pressure anomalies???
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So what do you think are the odds for 96L Levi?
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573. 7544
97l coming soon
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Well this is what it says now:

BEGIN
NHC_ATCF
invest_al952010.invest
FSTDA
R
U
040
010
0000
201007061243
NONE
NOTIFY=ATRP
END
INVEST, AL, L, , , , , 95, 2010, DB, O, 2010070212, 9999999999, , , , , , WARNING, 2, AL952010
AL, 95, 2010070118, , BEST, 0, 306N, 829W, 20, 1009, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 95, 2010070200, , BEST, 0, 304N, 833W, 20, 1009, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 95, 2010070206, , BEST, 0, 302N, 836W, 20, 1009, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 95, 2010070212, , BEST, 0, 298N, 840W, 20, 1015, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1018, 150, 15, 25, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, D,
AL, 95, 2010070218, , BEST, 0, 292N, 845W, 20, 1015, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1018, 150, 15, 25, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, D,
AL, 95, 2010070300, , BEST, 0, 288N, 851W, 20, 1013, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1016, 130, 20, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, M,
AL, 95, 2010070306, , BEST, 0, 282N, 863W, 20, 1013, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1015, 120, 20, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 95, 2010070312, , BEST, 0, 278N, 870W, 20, 1013, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1015, 120, 20, 25, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 95, 2010070318, , BEST, 0, 276N, 876W, 25, 1013, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1015, 120, 20, 35, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 95, 2010070400, , BEST, 0, 275N, 884W, 25, 1011, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1013, 120, 30, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 95, 2010070406, , BEST, 0, 273N, 895W, 25, 1011, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1013, 100, 40, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 95, 2010070412, , BEST, 0, 272N, 900W, 20, 1011, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1013, 100, 40, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 95, 2010070418, , BEST, 0, 274N, 901W, 20, 1012, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1014, 70, 40, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 95, 2010070500, , BEST, 0, 277N, 905W, 25, 1011, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1013, 60, 20, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 95, 2010070506, , BEST, 0, 281N, 908W, 25, 1010, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1013, 60, 20, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 95, 2010070512, , BEST, 0, 284N, 909W, 30, 1009, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1012, 70, 25, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 95, 2010070518, , BEST, 0, 287N, 911W, 30, 1008, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1012, 70, 25, 40, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 95, 2010070600, , BEST, 0, 290N, 915W, 30, 1008, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1011, 80, 45, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 95, 2010070606, , BEST, 0, 296N, 922W, 30, 1008, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 95, 2010070612, , BEST, 0, 303N, 924W, 20, 1009, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
with the heat wave, are we anticipating any shower curtains cut up into speedos?
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Quoting DestinJeff:


...I think this is more or less a debate about nothing.



Not entirely. Not jumping in the 95L debate now, but what if five or 10 people had been killed in flooding from the 15 inches of rain that fell swest of Morgan City? Would have greater awareness been created and saved lives had it been classified as a TD? Maybe. Everyone shares some personal responsibility, first and foremost. But, I don't think it's the role of the NHC is to necessarily "classify" storms as much as it is to help save lives and protect property.

Again, just my two cents. Have a great afternoon, all.
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96L is pulling itself together in the area of greatest pressure falls, and this is where, if it can overcome the dry air to its west, it will really start to develop. This is nothing more than a westward shift of what happened with Alex 2 weeks ago down in the Caribbean. Because of that, 96L doesn't have the kind of time it needs to become something vicious before running into North America like Alex did.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26654
Quoting DestinJeff:


Negative. You don't have to agree with anyone ... but understand your book doesn't jive with the NHC's book in this case. No big deal, really. Or perhaps there is something I am missing about the consequences of classification versus not. That certainly could be the case, but I think this is more or less a debate about nothing.

It is a debate about a meaningless storm, but it is still spinning in NE Texas.
Quoting Dakster:


I am assuming your are in the USA. (Some other countries this doesn't apply)

You don't have to agree with anyone, regardless of the letters that follow their name. However, the official historical record is not up to you -

Just like Dr. Carver, all of the forecasters at the NHC, Dr. Masters, Stormw, Levi, W456, etc... do not have to agree with you.

Having said all that, if its looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck...

Well at least I have my own opinion. 95L was about 30 - 35 mph with a 1009 mb "closed low"...albeit very weak.
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Rising river forces Mexico-Texas bridge closing

Whatever 96L ends up being, it will certainly make the flooding situation down there worse.
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my guess is 96L will still spin up into atleast a tropical storm
before it is all said and done so caution should be used if anyone
is talking about dismissing it.

Granted, it does not look like much but it has a favorable setup
and apparently the mid level circulation is still very intact and soon
it will be moving into an incapsulated low shear enviroment with
clearly noticeable warmer sst's despite the recent upwelling that
occured from Alex.

right now 96L's biggest problem that i see is its rather quick forward
motion which may only give it a small window of opportunity if any
to form and intensify.
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96L is moving so fast it's gonna be inland by tomorrow morning. I don't see how it has a chance with how unorganized it is now.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


I can't, sites not working for me.


AL, 95, 2010070118, , BEST, 0, 306N, 829W, 20, 1009, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070200, , BEST, 0, 304N, 833W, 20, 1009, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070206, , BEST, 0, 302N, 836W, 20, 1009, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070212, , BEST, 0, 298N, 840W, 20, 1015, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070218, , BEST, 0, 292N, 845W, 20, 1015, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070300, , BEST, 0, 288N, 851W, 20, 1013, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070306, , BEST, 0, 282N, 863W, 20, 1013, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070312, , BEST, 0, 278N, 870W, 20, 1013, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070318, , BEST, 0, 276N, 876W, 25, 1013, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070400, , BEST, 0, 275N, 884W, 25, 1011, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070406, , BEST, 0, 273N, 895W, 25, 1011, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070412, , BEST, 0, 272N, 900W, 20, 1011, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070418, , BEST, 0, 274N, 901W, 20, 1012, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070500, , BEST, 0, 277N, 905W, 25, 1011, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070506, , BEST, 0, 281N, 908W, 25, 1010, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070512, , BEST, 0, 284N, 909W, 30, 1009, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070518, , BEST, 0, 287N, 911W, 30, 1008, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070600, , BEST, 0, 290N, 915W, 30, 1008, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070606, , BEST, 0, 296N, 922W, 30, 1008, LO,
AL, 95, 2010070612, , BEST, 0, 303N, 924W, 20, 1009, LO,
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7816
Quoting Hurricanes101:


atcf changed it back if you go look, no TD for any update now


I can't, sites not working for me.
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562. BDAwx
so wait. these weren't attached to fronts?
Chantal 2007

Wilma 2005

Alex 2004

Otto 2004

Erika 2003

Arthur 2002

Dolly 2002

Isidore 2002

Erin 2001

Felix 2001


or does the front rule only apply to developing systems?
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


95L featured a closed LLC regardless of what Dr. Carver said, it was obvious on radar the strong amount of turning and had substantial amount of vort to be considered a closed LLC. They even ran model data on a TD to the models the day 95L hit land, yet the NHC never gave a renumber.





atcf changed it back if you go look, no TD for any update now
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7816
Quoting KarenRei:


You can read the report here. The findings begin on page 10 and continue through page 16. They were not charged with 'failing to reveal true information'. The report finds in their favor on almost all charges; the closest thing to what you described that it holds against them is a failure to maintain a culture of openness -- not just for statutory requirements, but to maintain the reputation of the university and the science. They're faulted several times for being "unhelpful" to data requests from those they felt were just trying to waste their time or attack them, and for a lack of risk management planning in their handling of the controversy. These charges are not irrelevant, by any stretch. But the science itself was upheld. At the same time, it should send a message to them that as much as you are sure that these "amateur scientists" who keep pestering you with data requests are just trying to harass you and waste your time, you still have to treat their requests with the same respect you would treat legitimate scientific inquiry.

The message being sent to them is an important one: it is not their place to determine whose inquiry is relevant or "legitimate". Science is about truth and if what you propose is the truth then all inquiries should be welcome and accepted.
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557. Daveg
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Beaumont, Tx


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Quoting txag91met:

I have a Master's in meteorology...been studying tropical systems for a long time...the low was closed enough in my book to warrant classification. It is just my opinion...why do I have to agree with Dr. Carver, just because he has a PHD?


I am assuming your are in the USA. (Some other countries this doesn't apply)

You don't have to agree with anyone, regardless of the letters that follow their name. However, the official historical record is not up to you -

Just like Dr. Carver, all of the forecasters at the NHC, Dr. Masters, Stormw, Levi, W456, etc... do not have to agree with you.

Having said all that, if its looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck...
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10414
Quoting Hurricanes101:


that was my point Teddy, just because 95L had a pressure of 1009mb and winds of 30mph does not mean it meets the criteria for classification; that is why I responded with what I did


95L featured a closed LLC regardless of what Dr. Carver said, it was obvious on radar the strong amount of turning and had substantial amount of vort to be considered a closed LLC. They even ran model data on a TD to the models the day 95L hit land, yet the NHC never gave a renumber. If 95L never had a closed LLC, the NHC would never have bumped up the odds so rapidly. That's all I have to say on the subject, personally I'm more concerned about 96L than the NHC not naming a dead invest.
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Classification of a storm really boils down to the forecaster on duty and whether or not the forecaster feels an invest has become a tropical cyclone.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30562
Good morning all.

Tropical Tidbit for Wednesday, July 7th, with Video
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26654
Quoting Hurricanes101:


Never said you did have to agree, do we have to agree with you because you have a Masters' degree? Works both ways

Nope...

but look at the radar look and you can see the low-level center to the SW of convection.

Link
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


I had a gust in a thunderstorm that went up to 74 mph should that be considered a Hurricane? That makes about as much sense as the logic you just posted.


that was my point Teddy, just because 95L had a pressure of 1009mb and winds of 30mph does not mean it meets the criteria for classification; that is why I responded with what I did
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7816
Quoting Hurricanes101:
agreed bwt lol

I had said the other day there was a Mid level vortex off the coast of Tampa that gave my area some gusty winds and tropical downpours all day; should that have been classified too?


I had a gust in a thunderstorm that went up to 74 mph should that be considered a Hurricane? That makes about as much sense as the logic you just posted.
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546. 7544
ok after i posted i see accu weather does have a box around 23n 70 west as a wave to watch lol

could it become 97l next ?
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Quoting muddertracker:
Is it normal for the TWO not to give coordinates...I mean about 300 miles s/se...How do you figure THAT out? Why don't they just say.."that "blob" out there...it could develop...."


the TWO never gives coordinates
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7816
Quoting ElConando:


Just a question how long before landfall did it seperate from the warmfront?


about 3 hours from what I gathered
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7816
Quoting txag91met:

I have a Master's in meteorology...been studying tropical systems for a long time...the low was closed enough in my book to warrant classification. It is just my opinion...why do I have to agree with Dr. Carver, just because he has a PHD?


Never said you did have to agree, do we have to agree with you because you have a Masters' degree? Works both ways
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7816
Quoting txag91met:

I have a Master's in meteorology...been studying tropical systems for a long time...the low was closed enough in my book to warrant classification. It is just my opinion...why do I have to agree with Dr. Carver, just because he has a PHD.


Just a question how long before landfall did it seperate from the warmfront?
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Quoting Drakoen:
Not surprising they bumped up the chance with evidence of a closed surface low and convection continuing to increase.


Convection is increasing due to the closed surface low and passing over warmer SST's. TCHP is bare where 96L is though.
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Is it normal for the TWO not to give coordinates...I mean about 300 miles s/se...How do you figure THAT out? Why don't they just say.."that "blob" out there...it could develop...."
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Just curious about the word "Classificate"....
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
agreed bwt lol

I had said the other day there was a Mid level vortex off the coast of Tampa that gave my area some gusty winds and tropical downpours all day; should that have been classified too?

I have a Master's in meteorology...been studying tropical systems for a long time...the low was closed enough in my book to warrant classification. It is just my opinion...why do I have to agree with Dr. Carver, just because he has a PHD?
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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.