Earl spares North Carolina, heads for New England

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:07 PM GMT on September 03, 2010

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Hurricane Earl sideswiped North Carolina's Outer Banks early this morning, passing just 75 miles east of Cape Hatteras. Special weather statements indicate that the only road out of the barrier island chain, Highway 12, is closed. Pounding waves over 15 feet high, on top of a storm surge of 2 - 3 feet, pushed water over the highway in multiple locations. Earl's winds also piled up huge waves offshore--waves peaked at 28 feet at the Diamond Shoals buoy, and at 31 feet at a buoy 150 nm offshore of Cape Hatteras. Peak wind gusts from Earl were 74 mph at 12:30am at Oregon Inlet, and 70 mph at Nags Head and Manteo. Sustained winds of 47 mph were recorded at Oregon Inlet, but sustained winds at Cape Hatteras never reached tropical storm force--top winds there were just 36 mph, with gusts to 62 mph. Radar estimated rainfall (Figure 2) for Earl from the Cape Hatteras, North Carolina radar shows that 3 - 4 inches of rain fell across much of the Outer Banks. Overall, aside from some significant beach erosion, Earl spared North Carolina.


Figure 1. MODIS image of Earl taken at 11:29am EDT September 2, 2010, by NASA's Terra satellite. At the time, Earl was a Category 3 hurricane with top winds of 125 mph. The storm had a somewhat lopsided shape, due to wind shear from the southwest affecting the storm. Image credit: NASA.

Earl is now headed to the north-northeast at 18 mph. Conditions will steadily improve today over North Carolina, but deteriorate over New England. Earl's outer rain bands have now reached New York's Long Island, as seen on long range Dover radar. Satellite imagery shows that Earl is no longer the impressive hurricane it once was. The eye is no longer visible, and the hurricane appears lopsided, due upper level winds out of the southwest that are creating a moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear. The latest 10:02am EDT eye report from the Hurricane Hunters showed that Earl continues to weaken, with a central pressure up to 961 mb. Top surface winds measured via their SFMR instrument were just 76 mph--barely Category 1 strength.


Figure 2. Radar estimated rainfall for Earl from the Cape Hatteras, North Carolina radar shows that 3 - 4 inches of rain fell across much of the Outer Banks.

Forecast for Earl
The latest set of model runs from 2am EDT (6Z) this morning show little change to Earl's track. Earl is expected to pass 20 - 50 miles southeast of Nantucket and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, at about 2am Saturday. The latest SHIPS model forecast of wind shear also shows no surprises. Wind shear will remain moderate, 10 - 20 knots today, then increase to the high range, 20 - 30 knots, on Saturday. Ocean temperatures will plunge to 20°C early Saturday morning, resulting in considerable weakening. Earl will still probably be a weak Category 1 hurricane early Saturday morning, when it will make its closest approach to New England. Earl is more likely to be a strong tropical storm early Saturday afternoon, when it is expected to make landfall in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, Canada.


Figure 3. Wind field analysis of Hurricane Earl from 9:30am EDT Friday, September 3, 2010. Note the 15 mph asymmetry in Earl's wind field, caused by the storm's forward motion of 18 mph to the north-northeast at the time. The highest contour had top winds of 75 kt (87 mph) surrounding the "+" on the east side of Earl--the strong right front quadrant of the storm. However, winds on the left (west) side were just 65 knots (74 mph.) The asymmetry was greater--about 20 mph--at 6:30 am EDT this morning. Image credit: NOAA/AOML/Hurricane Research Division.

Impact of Earl on New England
The latest track forecasts still keep Earl's eye barely offshore of New England, with the center passing 20 - 60 miles southeast of Nantucket and the extreme eastern tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The 11am NHC intensity forecast calls for Earl to have top winds of 75 mph at 2am Saturday, when the storm is expected to be at its closest to Massachusetts. Earl will be moving northeastward near 25 mph at that time, meaning that we will see a large difference in the winds between the weak and strong sides of this fast-moving hurricane. This difference is likely to be about 15 - 20 mph, based on the wind distribution around Earl's eye seen so far this morning. Winds analyzed on the experimental H*Wind product put out by NOAA's Hurricane Research Division at 9:30am this morning (Figure 3) showed that the winds on the weak left side of the storm were about 15 mph less than the winds in the powerful right front quadrant. Assuming Earl maintains this structure for the next day, we can expect the hurricane will have top winds of 75 mph on its strong southeast side over water when it whips by Southeast Massachusetts early Saturday morning, and winds of 55 - 60 mph in its northwest eyewall, closest to Massachusetts. If Cape Cod and Nantucket barely miss Earl's northwest eyewall, as currently forecast, top winds in those locations might only reach 45 - 50 mph. The latest NHC wind probability forecast from 11am this morning gives Nantucket a 12% chance of receiving sustained hurricane force winds of 74+ mph, and Hyannis on Cape Cod a 3% chance.

The highest storm surge from Earl is likely to be on the south side of Cape Cod Bay, due to the northeast winds that will be piling up water in the bay. NHC is giving a 10% chance that a storm surge of 3 - 5 feet will occur in Cape Cod Bay, but it is more likely that the surge will be 2 - 3 feet. The extreme western portion of Long Island Sound at New York City could see a storm surge bringing water levels 1 - 2 feet above ground level.


Figure 4. NHC is giving a 10% chance that the storm surge will reach heights of 3 - 5 feet in southern Cape Cod Bay. Image credit: National Hurricane Center.

Impact of Earl on Canada
Winds will begin to rise on the southwest coast of Nova Scotia late Friday night and early Saturday morning. By late morning Saturday, Earl is expected to make landfall somewhere between the Maine/New Brunswick border and central Nova Scotia. At that time, Earl will probably be a strong tropical storm with 55 - 60 mph winds. Earl will be moving at a very rapid 25 - 30 mph when it arrives in Canada, and regions on the right side of the eye can expect winds 15 - 20 mph greater than on the left side, due to the fast forward motion of the hurricane. Earl's impact is likely to be less than 2008's Hurricane Kyle, the last hurricane to hit Nova Scotia. Kyle hit near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, as a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds. Kyle produced a storm surge of 2.6 feet, and did $9 million in damage to Canada. The 11am EDT NHC wind probability forecast is calling for a 15% chance of hurricane-force winds in Yarmouth, and 3% in Halifax.

Fiona
There is not much to Tropical Storm Fiona, which satellite loops show to be a naked swirl of low clouds with just one diminishing spot of heavy thunderstorms on the southwest side of the circulation. High wind shear from Earl should continue to affect Fiona over the next two days, and be able to destroy the storm by Saturday.


Figure 5. Morning satellite image of Gaston's remains (left) and the latest tropical wave to move off of Africa (right).

Gaston may regenerate
Tropical storm Gaston lost its battle with dry air yesterday, degenerating into a disorganized low pressure area. Recent satellite imagery shows that Gaston's remains have developed a broad surface circulation again, and a few heavy thunderstorms have begun to appear. The latest SHIPS model forecast predicts shear will remain low to moderate, 5 - 15 knots, for the next five days, so it is possible Gaston could regenerate. The large amount of dry air surrounding Gaston's remains seen on water vapor satellite loops will continue to be a major impediment to development. NHC is giving Gaston a 40% chance of regenerating into a tropical depression by Sunday. I'd put these odds a little higher, at 60%. The GFS model develops Gaston and predicts it will move though the Lesser Antilles on Wednesday. The NOGAPS and Canadian models also indicate Gaston will re-develop, but move the storm slower and show it near the northern Lesser Antilles seven days from now.

New tropical wave
A large tropical off the coast of Africa is moving westward at about 10 mph, and has the potential to develop into a tropical depression next week. NHC is giving the wave a 10% chance of developing by Sunday afternoon. Wind shear is currently too high, 20 - 30 knots, for the wave to develop. However, once the wave reaches a point a few hundred miles from the Cape Verdes Islands two days from now, wind shear will drop and development will be more likely.

Next post
I'll have an update late this afternoon.

Jeff Masters

Earl meets Surf City Pier (travelingangel2003)
First of pics ( I have taken 400 today) going to go back tonight.
Earl meets Surf City Pier
Hurricane Earl's Swells Reach The Rhode Island Coast@ Newport # 11 (RIWXPhoto)
Hurricane Earl's Swells Reach The Rhode Island Coast@ Newport # 11

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Quoting ElConando:


I would favor a more Southern solution with Gaston. Still if development reoccurs there will still be threats to land weather it re curves or continues west into the Caribbean.


Obviously iam talking as far an eastcoast threat. Puerto rico,haiti may wanna keep closer tabs on this developing system as its very close to being a TD once again. Intensity models still calling for intensification into well developed cyclone.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


If your Lucky... it will be dead by then.


Word!
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Quoting seflagamma:
Where is StormTop (what ever his handle these days?)... he was dead set Earl was coming to S Fla and then into GOM....and of course heading for NO... :o)


There were a number of Floridacasters who kept telling us we were crazy looking for the storm to recurve...

Hmmm, mighty quiet now...
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Quoting IKE:
Bastardi was saying Earl had a chance last night to ramp up to a cat 5. The NHC was calling for steady weakening at that time.


Ditto that, however NHC was still talking 115kt today, yesterday.
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Quoting IKE:
Bastardi was saying Earl had a chance last night to ramp up to a cat 5. The NHC was calling for steady weakening at that time.


And that's the difference of having many minds make a forecast than just one.
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Good Morning All...Hope everyone is doing well, with the exception of Miama...hope you feel better soon! and Hello and welcome Ribbitman. I am from Louisiana too and I watch and learn and lurk about too.
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Quoting rwdobson:
Kinda shows how much harder it is to predict intensity compared to track...
Agreed, hopefully the GRIP mission can give us all some better tools for the future.
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Quoting Ribbitman:
I am a new member as of 15 min ago.I have been vewing for 3-4 yrs now this site and read and learn from the best Mr STORMW and the good Dr Masters.I am in Louisiana,took a hit on the nose from Rita and others so I know what these stomrs are all about.I promise not to get in the way,may post a little,I more so will be reading and learning .Glad to finally be on board.



Welcome aboard.
sheri
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Quoting angiest:


Wow, nailed it and blew it for the same storm!


Track was spot on, intensity, huge miss!

I guess Bastardi had the worst prediction- yesterday he was talking about a chance to make it to Cat 5 as he was pushing the influence of the Gulf Stream and saw the eye falling apart as an EWRC, when, in fact, it was simply falling apart. Anyway, much learned on this one. Left with the feeling that the NHC was throwing darts at the intensity levels. All the same, thankful for the fact that this storm hit the skids before it hit NE.
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Quoting hurricane23:


Right now i'd say no. This stubborn western Atlantic trough may recurve just about everything. Here's youre updated 12z plots for gaston.


I would favor a more Southern solution with Gaston. Still if development reoccurs there will still be threats to land weather it re curves or continues west into the Caribbean.
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Where is StormTop (what ever his handle these days?)... he was dead set Earl was coming to S Fla and then into GOM....and of course heading for NO... :o)
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 298 Comments: 40887
Quoting IKE:


Drive all the way from where he lives(New Mexico?), to NC to capture a diminishing hurricane..that stayed 75 miles offshore?

I've never watched any of his live feeds. I've seen enough reporters in hurricanes. Doesn't really interest me.


He flew
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84. IKE
Bastardi was saying Earl had a chance last night to ramp up to a cat 5. The NHC was calling for steady weakening at that time.
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just me or does earl seem to be regenerating its core somewhat>?
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Quoting angiest:


The formation of Danielle, Earl, and Fiona were fairly well predicted.

Early on Danielle was forecast to hit the FL/GA border, then take an Earl-like track. Once there was a real system they got pretty good at her overall track (recurve out at sea).

Earl was originally forecast to follow Danielle. I don't really recall most of the models having him grazing the East coast (or impacting the Islands) until it was almost a foregone conclusion.

Euro had Fiona entering the Gulf at one time, though most of the models have done a reasonable job with her.

Gaston was missed by most of the models, though to be fair he didnt stick around long.

Too early to judge Gaston's forecast track, obviously.

The models have done rather well with tropical cyclogenesis recently, and decently with overall patterns, but not so well with track. At least that is how I remember things.


That is incorrect. Exactly a week ago a few models were predicting that Earl was just going to be touching NC coast tip (an error of about 50 mi) and the others were showing Earl just off the coast. I know that well because I was considering travel plans in such eventuality. Still it is possible to see old expected tracks in MyFoxHurricane blog archive which supports my claim.
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Kinda shows how much harder it is to predict intensity compared to track...
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Quoting 900MB:
Wow! Looks like the NHC and virtually everyone else completely blew it on the intensity forecast!

This time yesterday we were looking at a Cat 2/ Cat 3 hurricane passing East of Long Island Tonight. Now it would be lucky to hold hurricane status at that time. That is a whopping 40mph off (at a minimum)!

What did it? I think a combo of shear and dry air. Once that eye disappeared yesterday it was a slippery slope.


If your Lucky... it will be dead by then.
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Quoting 900MB:
Wow! Looks like the NHC and virtually everyone else completely blew it on the intensity forecast!

This time yesterday we were looking at a Cat 2/ Cat 3 hurricane passing East of Long Island Tonight. Now it would be lucky to hold hurricane status at that time. That is a whopping 40mph off (at a minimum)!

What did it? I think a combo of shear and dry air. Once that eye disappeared yesterday it was a slippery slope.
Quoting SirTophamHatt:
Congratulations to the NHC, Jeff Masters, Storm W and the other professionals who, other than the brush with Puerto Rico, pretty much nailed this one. It's amazing to me to watch the predictions come to fruition.



And to all the hacks, cat adjusters and rabble rousers calling for Earl to either plow into Florida as a 5 or scrub the nub off North Carolina - sign up for a class or read a book.


Wow, nailed it and blew it for the same storm!
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Link

Good thing this pier had been closed
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Quoting MahFL:
The big question though StormW is the pattern going to change to drive storms to the US coastline ?


Right now i'd say no. This stubborn western Atlantic trough may recurve just about everything. Here's youre updated 12z plots for gaston.
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I repeat the invest 99 L is activated, in fact the Navy has confirmed.

By the way has already left the visible invest 99 L.

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Thanks for the Post.

Seems that Earl won't be that bad after all. However, Earl still has caused a bit of damage in the Antilles and could still ring upwards of 300 million in damage when all is said and done.
This is a wake up call for all this season. Everyone be prepared the rest of this month and the next will be bumpy.
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Wow! Looks like the NHC and virtually everyone else completely blew it on the intensity forecast!

This time yesterday we were looking at a Cat 2/ Cat 3 hurricane passing East of Long Island Tonight. Now it would be lucky to hold hurricane status at that time. That is a whopping 40mph off (at a minimum)!

What did it? I think a combo of shear and dry air. Once that eye disappeared yesterday it was a slippery slope.
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Quoting leo305:


Canotore reported hurricane force gusts ..

HAT had 63 mph gusts earlier...Earl looking more ragged now...
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Quoting MahFL:
At one point Oz was drinking from a whiskey bottle in his car, and he showed the bottle on the webcam........


he's a dope. wasn't he always saying how he takes so many precautions to be safe???
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Quoting Ribbitman:
I am a new member as of 15 min ago.I have been vewing for 3-4 yrs now this site and read and learn from the best Mr STORMW and the good Dr Masters.I am in Louisiana,took a hit on the nose from Rita and others so I know what these stomrs are all about.I promise not to get in the way,may post a little,I more so will be reading and learning .Glad to finally be on board.


Welcome to the blogs with your first post!
congratulations.
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 298 Comments: 40887
69. IKE
Quoting MahFL:
At one point Oz was drinking from a whiskey bottle in his car, and he showed the bottle on the webcam........


Drive all the way from where he lives(New Mexico?), to NC to capture a diminishing hurricane..that stayed 75 miles offshore?

I've never watched any of his live feeds. I've seen enough reporters in hurricanes. Doesn't really interest me.
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AND WE'LL HAVE FUN, FUN, FUN 'TIL MOTHER NATURE TAKES THIS SEASON AWAY.
Earl has been spreading out overnight and after 75 east of Cape Hatteras (strongest winds I have seen have been at Oregon inlet, where there was a gust to near 85 mph). The endgame now is still a test. The UKMET and NOGAPS do not fade Earl as much as the U.S. models, though the 06z GFS was a bit farther west. The center appears to be on the western side of the convection, but one can't tell for sure until the sun is up. In any case, it's a hurricane tonight for the Cape and Islands, then a run into Nova Scotia.

Fiona is finished... its low-level center is taking off to the north and the upper feature is heading to the southwest.

I will be posting later today... but the comeback of Gaston is very much an idea I have and also a track in the end that should be farther west than Earl.

Thanks for reading. Ciao for now. *** Joe B
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Guess I had better go to work. Took the whole day off yesterday and spent it right here. lol See y'all.
Member Since: September 7, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1081
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Lol, thanks. Did ya' see the Canes game last night on ESPN3? It was pretty funny (Canes shut out FAMU, the score was Miami: 45 FAMU: 0), hopefully it got our confidence up for next Saturday when we head over to OSU.


Yes I did. Ohio State should be no problem for The U. I can't wait to see them pay back for what they took from us because of a BS pass interference call.
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Quoting BLee2333:
Cantore probably had a hollywood style fan next to him to maintain the viewer ratings...
LOL, Good morning, all.
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Quoting Floridaweathergirl:
I haven't been on but what happened to Gaston?


Gaston ran out of Gas yesterday.
However, looking a bit better today.
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Check out this video, CBS 6 WTVR Richmond meteorologist aaron Justis with a report from VA beach this morning.
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I haven't been on but what happened to Gaston?
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yes lucky thanks for update doc now nothing but a face in the clouds

07L/H/E


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Quoting Tango01:
At some time in the future I would like to see a blog post discussing hurricane models and how unbelievable accurate almost all of them have been. For at least 2 weeks already they have been predicting Danielle, Earl and Fiona trajectories with relatively low error. In some cases accurate predictions were made even before the storm was named. Why is that? Are this year's weather conditions so consistent that error is reduced or is it that models have improved (better algorithms or better processing systems)?


The formation of Danielle, Earl, and Fiona were fairly well predicted.

Early on Danielle was forecast to hit the FL/GA border, then take an Earl-like track. Once there was a real system they got pretty good at her overall track (recurve out at sea).

Earl was originally forecast to follow Danielle. I don't really recall most of the models having him grazing the East coast (or impacting the Islands) until it was almost a foregone conclusion.

Euro had Fiona entering the Gulf at one time, though most of the models have done a reasonable job with her.

Gaston was missed by most of the models, though to be fair he didnt stick around long.

Too early to judge Gaston's forecast track, obviously.

The models have done rather well with tropical cyclogenesis recently, and decently with overall patterns, but not so well with track. At least that is how I remember things.
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At one point Oz was drinking from a whiskey bottle in his car, and he showed the bottle on the webcam........
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Hurricane Watch now up for Halifax
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Quoting lizrod43:
I live in Florida, so I know Hurricanes are not fun.
BUT,,seeing Cantore out there in the dark, wind and rain in his face, not being able to see,,now that is funny..
what is your point Jim??? the weather is bad???


It was very educational. I was surprised to learn that tropical systems are windy and rainy. Thanks Weather Channel!

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Quoting Floodman:


I was spared the debacle myself, but I've heard some pretty sad things...



Having seen him last year, I thought last night "Why bother?".
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Quoting Ribbitman:
I am a new member as of 15 min ago.I have been vewing for 3-4 yrs now this site and read and learn from the best Mr STORMW and the good Dr Masters.I am in Louisiana,took a hit on the nose from Rita and others so I know what these stomrs are all about.I promise not to get in the way,may post a little,I more so will be reading and learning .Glad to finally be on board.


Welcome!
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52. IKE
Quoting tropicfreak:
Didn't see much out of earl here in richmond, saw a few light rain bands, had a 25 mph gust out of one of these bands but thats it.


You get more wind then that after a cold front moves through.

I saw a report on damage from Earl...so far...in the islands. Estimated at 50-150 million.
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Quoting Tazmanian:




we no


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Quoting SQUAWK:


Didn't waste my time. Glad I didn't. What Did he do that got you so riled up??


I think it went downhill after he opened the scotch...all of my info is hearsay though, so don't quote me
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The big question though StormW is the pattern going to change to drive storms to the US coastline ?
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I am a new member as of 15 min ago.I have been vewing for 3-4 yrs now this site and read and learn from the best Mr STORMW and the good Dr Masters.I am in Louisiana,took a hit on the nose from Rita and others so I know what these stomrs are all about.I promise not to get in the way,may post a little,I more so will be reading and learning .Glad to finally be on board.
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Quoting caneswatch:


Get well Miami! Unlike me, you don't have to fly on a plane with the flu with two little kids kicking the back of your seat.
Lol, thanks. Did ya' see the Canes game last night on ESPN3? It was pretty funny (Canes shut out FAMU, the score was Miami: 45 FAMU: 0), hopefully it got our confidence up for next Saturday when we head over to OSU.
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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.