Bonnie weakens to a tropical depression

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:40 PM GMT on July 23, 2010

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Tropical Depression Bonnie is nearing the end of its traverse of South Florida, and passage over land has significantly disrupted the small storm. Satellite images show almost no heavy thunderstorms near Bonnie's center of circulation, and the center is now exposed to view. Radar-estimated rainfall from the Key West radar shows that Bonnie dumped very little rain on South Florida--maximum rainfall amounts from the storm were about four inches over a small region southwest of Miami. Water vapor satellite loops show that Bonnie is embedded in a large area of dry air, thanks to an upper level low to the west over the Gulf of Mexico. This low has brought an increasing amount of wind shear to Bonnie today, and shear has increased from 20 knots this morning to 25 knots this afternoon. Surface observations in South Florida currently don't show any tropical storm force winds. Bonnie's top winds today were at Fowey Rocks, which had sustained winds of 46 mph, gusting to 53 mph, at 10:45 am EDT.


Figure 1. Satellite image of Bonnie from NASA's MODIS instrument, taken at 17:10 UTC July 23, 2010. Image credit: NASA/.

Track Forecast for Bonnie
The latest set of model runs from 8am EDT (12Z) are very similar to the three previous sets of runs, and this degree of consistency gives me confidence that Bonnie will stay within the cone of uncertainty depicted on the track forecast images. The projected track will take Bonnie over the oil spill region, and the storm's strong east to southeasterly winds will begin to affect the oil slick on Saturday morning. Assuming Bonnie doesn't dissipate over the next day, the storm's winds, coupled with a likely storm surge of 2 - 4 feet, will drive oil into a substantial area of the Louisiana marshlands. However, the current NHC forecast has Bonnie making landfall in Louisiana near 9pm CDT Saturday night. According to the latest tide information, this will be near the time of low tide. This will result in much less oil entering the Louisiana marshlands than occurred during Hurricane Alex in June. That storm brought a storm surge of 2 - 4 feet and sustained winds of 20 - 30 mph that lasted for several days, including several high tide cycles. The latest oil trajectory forecasts from NOAA (Figure 2) predicts potential oil impacts along a 150-mile stretch of Louisiana coast on Sunday.


Figure 2. Oil Trajectory forecast for Sunday for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Image credit: NOAA.

Intensity Forecast for Bonnie
Bonnie has been disrupted by its passage over land, and it will take at least six hours for the storm to reorganize once it moves over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico tonight. This process will be hindered by the large upper-level low to its west. If the low remains in its present location, relative to Bonnie, it will bring high wind shear of about 20 - 30 knots to the storm. This will allow for only slow intensification, or may even destroy Bonnie. Bonnie is unlikely to intensify to more than a 50 mph tropical storm, and I give a 30% chance it will dissipate over the Gulf of Mexico before making landfall. The GFDL model predicts Bonnie could hit the Gulf Coast as a 50 mph tropical storm, but the other major models such as the HWRF, GFS, ECMWF, and NOGAPS show a much weaker storm. I don't give Bonnie any chance of becoming a hurricane. NHC is putting the odds of Bonnie being a hurricane at 2 pm Saturday at 4% (5pm advisory.)

If you are wondering about the specific probabilities of receiving tropical storm force winds at your location, I recommend the wind probability product from NHC. The latest probabilities of various locations getting tropical storm force winds, 39 mph or higher, from the 5pm EDT advisory:

Buras, LA 30%
New Orleans 28%
Mobile, AL 37%
Pensacola, FL 30%

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 update
I'll have an update Saturday morning.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting scott39:
Excuse my ignorance in what I thought 35kts meant. I thought that meant TD, so I thought I was guessing, but now I know. Thanks


Knots to mph converter (scroll down).
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Quoting RedStickCasterette:


Hmm perhaps we got more in Baytown? I went to bed with my daughter in my bed, both of us a bit afraid. Had been watching on WU. Woke up to a storm but a nice one. Didn't lose power thank goodness!!!

Gustav was much worse here, once I moved, a nightmare of a windstorm.

Oops meant here in Baton Rouge for Gustav.


I was in Prairieville for Gustav. You probably know where that is. If not, look it up on Wikipedia.

You talk about strong wind? Damn. I won't soon forget that day. We had sustained winds of 70-80 mph with gusts upwards of 100 to 110 mph during the height of the storm. Fortunately, I only lost power for five days, a far cry from Baton Rouge (which I was very near).
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Quoting RedStickCasterette:


Hmm perhaps we got more in Baytown? I went to bed with my daughter in my bed, both of us a bit afraid. Had been watching on WU. Woke up to a storm but a nice one. Didn't lose power thank goodness!!!

Gustav was much worse here, once I moved, a nightmare of a windstorm.


When we saw another TS supposed to come ashore overnight we were a little jumpy thinking Humberto part 2. I found WU the very next day and have tracked every blob since. Yeah Gustav was awful. He surprised some too.
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
1858. scott39
Quoting KoritheMan:


Especially not in a highly confluent environment, along with an almost complete lack of divergence and convergence, which will continue to be lacking due to a very dry environment.



Didn't they already forecast a 35 kt (40 mph) tropical storm during the previous advisory? They'll probably stick with that, as a proactive measure, as well as to maintain some continuity with the previous forecast.
Quoting KoritheMan:


Especially not in a highly confluent environment, along with an almost complete lack of divergence and convergence, which will continue to be lacking due to a very dry environment.



Didn't they already forecast a 35 kt (40 mph) tropical storm during the previous advisory? They'll probably stick with that, as a proactive measure, as well as to maintain some continuity with the previous forecast.
Quoting KoritheMan:


Especially not in a highly confluent environment, along with an almost complete lack of divergence and convergence, which will continue to be lacking due to a very dry environment.



Didn't they already forecast a 35 kt (40 mph) tropical storm during the previous advisory? They'll probably stick with that, as a proactive measure, as well as to maintain some continuity with the previous forecast.
Excuse my ignorance in what I thought 35kts meant. I thought that meant TD, so I thought I was guessing, but now I know. Thanks
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Quoting homelesswanderer:


He was just passing us at daybreak. Still pretty dark when I drove home from my mom's where I sheltered. One thing of traffic lights out. Lol. Other than that not much else. :)


Hmm perhaps we got more in Baytown? I went to bed with my daughter in my bed, both of us a bit afraid. Had been watching on WU. Woke up to a storm but a nice one. Didn't lose power thank goodness!!!

Gustav was much worse here, once I moved, a nightmare of a windstorm.

Oops meant here in Baton Rouge for Gustav.
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Quoting aspectre:
aspectre "TropicalDepression Bonnie was^heading for a Houston,Texas landfall in ~29hours.
(Straightline^projection using its last 2 positions. Take with HUGE grain of salt)"
1711 homelesswanderer "While ago it was Pt Arthur at 55hrs. Might actually be right. For the LLC anyway.

Egalitarianism is the nice thing about drawing a straight line through a TropicalCyclone's last two center positions: it spreads the threat all over the place. Since Bonnie entered Florida, the straightline has led to southwestGeorgia, NewOrleans, PortArthur, Metamoros,Mexico, and Houston.

HOWEVER the probability that a TC will wiggle around in its travels closely approximates certainty, so the chances of a long-term straightline-projected landfall being accurate approaches zero. A straightline projection is reliable only when the "fore"cast is made less than 3hours before landfall... the timing of which we won't know until after landfall.

Mostly it's posted is cuz I do it anyways to compare the results with what the NHC reports as a TC's speed&heading, with the XTRP*projection, and with the hurricane warning cones; and thought others might wanna take a look.

Interestingly, while it's nearly useless for forecasting purposes, it is fairly reliable for predicting which way the NHC will shift its cones; not of the amount, but rather of the general direction.

* The eXTRaPolation model is not the same as projecting a straight line through the last two reported center positions. It is derived by averaging the TC's various headings over the last 12hours, then projecting that average in a straight line from the TC's last reported center.

THANKS again, Skyepony, for telling me that XTRP was averaged over 12hours rather than "6to12hours", and for correcting my misspelt "XTRAP" (no wonder I couldn't google it up)


Ok. Thanks for explaining.
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
1855. xcool
Recon find ts wind
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Quoting RedStickCasterette:
Hey homeless you mentioned Eduardo coming in during the night? I was still in Baytown, Tx area and I recall it after daylight.

He was a nice storm, although some flooding around, we opened the door and it felt so good outside with the breeze, seeing the trees bend over a bit. I was hoping for something mild like that with Bonnie here.


He was just passing us at daybreak. Still pretty dark when I drove home from my mom's where I sheltered. One thing of traffic lights out. Lol. Other than that not much else. :)
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
aspectre "TropicalDepression Bonnie was^heading for a Houston,Texas landfall in ~29hours.
(Straightline^projection using its last 2 positions. Take with HUGE grain of salt)"
1711 homelesswanderer "While ago it was Pt Arthur at 55hrs. Might actually be right. For the LLC anyway.

Egalitarianism is the nice thing about drawing a straight line through a TropicalCyclone's last two center positions: it spreads the threat all over the place. Since Bonnie entered Florida, the straightline has led to southwestGeorgia, NewOrleans, PortArthur, Matamoros,Mexico, and Houston.

The probability that a TC will squiggle around in its travels closely approximates certainty, so the chances of a long-term straightline-projected landfall being accurate is extremely low. A straightline projection is reliable only when the "fore"cast is made less than 3hours before landfall... the timing of which we won't know until after landfall.

Mostly it's posted cuz I do it anyways to compare the results with what the NHC reports as a TC's current travel speed&direction, with the XTRP*projection, and with the hurricane warning cones; and thought others might wanna take a look.

Interestingly, while it is nearly useless for forecasting purposes, it's fairly reliable for predicting which way the NHC will shift its cones and XTRPs; not of the amount, but rather of the general direction.

* The eXTRaPolation model is not the same as projecting a straight line through the last two reported center positions. XTRP is derived by averaging the TC's various headings&speeds over the previous 12hours, then projecting that average in a straight line from the TC's last reported center.

THANKS again, Skyepony, for telling me that XTRP was averaged over 12hours rather than "6to12hours", and for correcting my misspelt "XTRAP" (no wonder I couldn't google it up)
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Quoting atmosweather:


Me too...I thought it would happen earlier this evening and it seemed to have almost degenerated for a little while. ,strong>But it won't be able to hold on much longer IMO.


Especially not in a highly confluent environment, along with an almost complete lack of divergence and convergence, which will continue to be lacking due to a very dry environment.

Quoting scott39:
Im going to make an un-educated guess. LOL and say the NHC will say Bonnie looks a little better and could be a weak TS at landfall.


Didn't they already forecast a 35 kt (40 mph) tropical storm during the previous advisory? They'll probably stick with that, as a proactive measure, as well as to maintain some continuity with the previous forecast.
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1851. xcool
:0
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Quoting SouthALWX:

game on! lol


Looks to me its going to pass the next tropical point well to the south. Not sure if it's faster. We'll see. :)
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
Hey homeless you mentioned Eduardo coming in during the night? I was still in Baytown, Tx area and I recall it after daylight.

He was a nice storm, although some flooding around, we opened the door and it felt so good outside with the breeze, seeing the trees bend over a bit. I was hoping for something mild like that with Bonnie here.
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1848. scott39
Im going to make an un-educated guess. LOL and say the NHC will say Bonnie looks a little better and could be a weak TS at landfall.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


I'm sticking with my forecast of degeneration into an open and elongated trough of low pressure prior to the system moving inland along the northern Gulf Coast. If it hasn't happened already...


Me too...I thought it would happen earlier this evening and it seemed to have almost degenerated for a little while. But it won't be able to hold on much longer IMO.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
Quoting atmosweather:


I'll go with 26.7N 85.0W as a half-educated guess =P


That's about where I've got it.
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Quoting atmosweather:


Other than 3 or 4 W-erly winds found from the last 6-8 RECON missions...there hasn't been a single surface observation of a W-erly wind since Thursday evening.


I'm sticking with my forecast of degeneration into an open and elongated trough of low pressure prior to the system moving inland along the northern Gulf Coast. If it hasn't happened already...
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Quoting atmosweather:


I'll go with 26.7N 85.0W as a half-educated guess =P

game on! lol
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Quoting SouthALWX:
COC looks to be near 27N 85.2W

edit: figured I might be more specific.


I'll go with 26.7N 85.0W as a half-educated guess =P
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
Quoting KoritheMan:
NOAA buoy 42003, located at 26N 85W, isn't even reporting a hint of westerly winds, and hasn't been all night.

Bonnie may be generating convection, but the highly unfavorable environment across the Gulf will not allow her to regain her former "strength".


Other than 3 or 4 W-erly winds found from the last 6-8 RECON missions...there hasn't been a single surface observation of a W-erly wind since Thursday evening.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
1841. scott39
Quoting SouthALWX:

Im not sure what you are saying ... but the V is a typical response to shear ... you see it alot with blobs in the tropics. just look at the side of the blob facing the shear. in this case it is also the side facing the LLC of a TC (Bonnie) It happens because of two factors ... Divergence increases away from the point of the V and the updraft region is considerably smaller than the rest of the visible convective mass. In laymans terms, if you see how the clouds make a V, you are seeing what Ive been ranting about =P
The point im trying to make is the convection seems to be deeping again around the center of that blob.
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COC looks to be near 27N 85.2W

edit: figured I might be more specific.
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Quoting homelesswanderer:


Ah I see. This is showing a storm coming out of the Caribbean to around Corpus Christi. The 3rd run this has shown it. May not be too far fetched. Link


Yep definitely not far-fetched...that area will be favorable for development next week and there are a couple of waves forecast to make it to the W-ern Caribbean during the time period.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
NOAA buoy 42003, located at 26N 85W, isn't even reporting a hint of westerly winds, and hasn't been all night.

Bonnie may be generating convection, but the highly unfavorable environment across the Gulf will not allow her to regain her former "strength".
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1837. xcool



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1836. xcool
by rader she not faster
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Quoting atmosweather:


The W Caribbean is always an area that needs to be watched regardless of the time in the season...that's where pressures are usually the lowest, the atmosphere is the moistest, and shear is typically the lowest.


Ah I see. This is showing a storm coming out of the Caribbean to around Corpus Christi. The 3rd run this has shown it. May not be too far fetched. Link
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
Quoting scott39:
On the Infared I saw where the V split in the convection and then after that it looked like ther is another small "red" burst in the NE side of the convection. Is this the reminants of the V? LOL please excuse my lack of weather terminology.

Im not sure what you are saying ... but the V is a typical response to shear ... you see it alot with blobs in the tropics. just look at the side of the blob facing the shear. in this case it is also the side facing the LLC of a TC (Bonnie) It happens because of two factors ... Divergence increases away from the point of the V and the updraft region is considerably smaller than the rest of the visible convective mass. In laymans terms, if you see how the clouds make a V, you are seeing what Ive been ranting about =P
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1833. scott39
On the Infared I saw where the V split in the convection and then after that it looked like ther is another small "red" burst in the NE side of the convection. Is this the reminants of the V? LOL please excuse my lack of weather terminology.
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Quoting homelesswanderer:
Sorry for being off topic. But just watched a few model loops and it's Deja Vu all over again. Especially the EURO. It could be a rerun of just about every storm this season. Shows disorganized low pressure? In the Caribbean. Then takes the energy into TX/MX. They all at least hint at something like that.


The W Caribbean is always an area that needs to be watched regardless of the time in the season...that's where pressures are usually the lowest, the atmosphere is the moistest, and shear is typically the lowest.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
Quoting atmosweather:


You can see the confluent flow aloft where the greatest low level energy is (and where the LLC is)...that's why the position of the ULL has been a detriment to Bonnie throughout it's life...with the strong upper ridge to the NE, you cannot have outflow and with the strong mean flow you can't get a vertically stacked system once it decouples unless something dramatic happens.

Agree completely. Add in dry levels and SE shear and you get a dead system ... Even with relaxed shear and moist air ... with confluent flow aloft ... it aint happenin...
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Sorry for being off topic. But just watched a few model loops and it's Deja Vu all over again. Especially the EURO. It could be a rerun of just about every storm this season. Shows disorganized low pressure? In the Caribbean. Then takes the energy into TX/MX. They all at least hint at something like that.
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
1829. scott39
Quoting SouthALWX:

I used NASA in addition to SSD IR and radar to get a clearer picture ...Looks to me that the COC is just south of the convective mass.
Thanks
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Quoting scott39:
All I did was look at the Infared and you can see the swirl come off Fl. and then you line it up with that first burst and follow the swirl until where the cordinates are at now ,and see the swirl go under the convection.

I used NASA in addition to SSD IR and radar to get a clearer picture ...Looks to me that the COC is just south of the convective mass.
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Quoting SouthALWX:

Yep. Decent Divergence due NE of the ULL. May provide for some pretty wet weather East of the Mississippi River. ULL is on the move but I dont think Bonnie has any more time to wait.


You can see the confluent flow aloft where the greatest low level energy is (and where the LLC is)...that's why the position of the ULL has been a detriment to Bonnie throughout it's life...with the strong upper ridge to the NE, you cannot have outflow and with the strong mean flow you can't get a vertically stacked system once it decouples unless something dramatic happens.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
JB last evening.



FRIDAY 10 PM
DANGEROUS MISSION INTO BONNIE DUE TO BOREDOM.

TPC should downgrade this and be done with this. There is no reason to continue to classify a system with no west wind, and looking at recon data, is up 7 mb from its lowest pressure last night when it was upgraded. The radar and sat presentation is not one a tropical cyclone. They were right to name it yesterday.. they stunk on the track and intensity idea as its 200 mile further north and there is no way it will got to 50kts near the oil spill. Time to quit grasping at straws and get real.

In the meantime, the pilots have to be bored. 1012 pressures and 10 kt winds is not what recons should be about. This is dead.. in the water

ciao for now ****
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Quoting KerryInNOLA:
It almost looks like an artifact. Spans over 120 degrees.

Im pretty sure what Im looking at isnt an artifact as it is juxtaposed with cloud formations that verify it's existence nor is it moving in an strange direction or speed. It is simply the result of a collapsing convective blob that collapsed pretty quickly and happened to be roughly circular in shape.
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1824. scott39
All I did was look at the Infared and you can see the swirl come off Fl. and then you line it up with that first burst and follow the swirl until where the cordinates are at now ,and see the swirl go under the convection.
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If yo zoom in on NASA's site on the IR you see a little notch ... clouds form here, and travel NW where they were flattened out due to shear. Eventually the shear decoupled the updraft and the V notch ( I really shouldnt call it that due to severe wx implication, but whatever) disappears. Shortly after the convection begins to wane (Next frame in fact)It's very tiny and you have to look close to see it.
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1821. xcool
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Quoting atmosweather:


Yeah I like using the NASA loops...and yeah the energy is being pulled NW-ward where the upper divergence is...and there's nothing left for the cloud tops to keep towering upwards once it starts to get pulled too far.

Yep. Decent Divergence due NE of the ULL. May provide for some pretty wet weather East of the Mississippi River. ULL is on the move but I dont think Bonnie has any more time to wait.
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1819. scott39
Quoting SouthALWX:

It slipped north, but it's pretty apparent it didnt get in far enough. All indications are that the convective mass has dislocated from the COC ... when recon gets in we will see if it did her any good while it was around
To help me understand, what are you looking at to see that its dislocated from the COC?
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1818. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
got to catch a little sleep nice to watch bonnie pull her final act be back at 7am
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54268
Sounds good,I will certainly try it out,Thanks for the information..
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Quoting SouthALWX:

did you zoom in on the nasa site? on the SE side of the blob you can see the last gasp of the updraft ... it's no longer connected to the coc and is dying PDQ ... interesting that the area providing the updraft for the whole complex was so small.


Yeah I like using the NASA loops...and yeah the energy is being pulled NW-ward where the upper divergence is...and there's nothing left for the cloud tops to keep towering upwards once it starts to get pulled too far.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
1815. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting tropicallsu:
Thanks KEEPER, That is a nice looking Sat Pic, I tryed to go to it myself but you have to pay for it, I already have a account with Accuweather, So I will have to pass on the subscription for now..
you can sign up for a 30 day free trial that will get ya to aug 24th anyway
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54268
Quoting scott39:
I was looking on the NHC Infared floater. if you stop it right where this blow up started a few hours ago, and then watch it frame by frame foward, it looks like the LLC is sneaking up under the convection. IMO

It slipped north, but it's pretty apparent it didnt get in far enough. All indications are that the convective mass has dislocated from the COC ... when recon gets in we will see if it did her any good while it was around
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Quoting homelesswanderer:

Looks like a perfect halo on RGB.

It really does .. Bonnie was a good girl and goes to heaven? or sumthinlikethat?
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1812. scott39
I was looking on the NHC Infared floater. if you stop it right where this blow up started a few hours ago, and then watch it frame by frame foward, it looks like the LLC is sneaking up under the convection. IMO
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Thanks KEEPER, That is a nice looking Sat Pic, I tryed to go to it myself but you have to pay for it, I already have a account with Accuweather, So I will have to pass on the subscription for now..
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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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