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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Gaston trying to pull a Rocky Balboa....

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Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma all hit the same current, called the loop current. However during the spring of 2005 a big giant loop current eddy broke off the main current and located itself over east/central GOM. Wilma later that year in October exploded rapidly over the warmest waters and deepest waters of the tropical Atlantic. Technically, the deepest waters are just north of Puerto Rico associated with the Puerto Rico trench, but the Caribbean waters are very warm and very deep. These three category five hurricanes and Emily as well all exploded over this loop current.
Member Since: October 21, 2008 Posts: 245 Comments: 3898
word to ya muthah
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Quoting tkeith:
word...

(see what you can learn on a weather blog)


that is funny!!!
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693. beell
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
The weak surface trough in the BOC?


Upper level trough with a surface reflection. S of a frontal boundary. Shows at 500mb and 700mb also.

Either way, I bet we get a blob alert!
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Gaston looks to have started his recovery; he's already crossed 15N and he looks a bit more robust:

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Quoting tropicfreak:
Wait, has gaston made his return yet??


my bad, Ex-Gaston, IMO NHC might have him up to 70-80% this evening.
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internet options, tools, change your security settings to enable cookies.
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Quoting wayfaringstranger:


Oh yes chocolate chip are awesome...
No! It says it on the front page"ou haven't added any favorites,and our cookies may be disabled",and a few bloggers have said that as well.Moving on to weather Gaston is coming back,and hermain is in the making with even more storms over the continent of africa.And it looks like accuweather didn't get their dooms day east coast storm they wanted out of earl.
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Wait, has gaston made his return yet??
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Quoting kmanislander:
Interesting 72 hr forecast except for the fact that Gaston is already down to 1008 mbs now.



Gaston is poised to become a TD/Storm agian, he's looking much better despite all the dry air he's been a battl'n, to think what he may look down the road when conditions improve will be frightening to say the least.
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Quoting myway:


Large Eye. Boca Raton on the north and Sunny Isles/Aventura to the south


I was not sure how big it was but it did cover a large portion of Broward and Palm Beach counties...as it came across...


where is everyone getting their info on X-Gaston? Wish WU would put their stuff back up on the system...
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As of 3:50 pm, Buoy 44066 is reporting sustained 36.9 kt winds out of the NNE, gusting to 46.6 kt...pressure 29.23" and seas to 14.4 ft. This buoy is located 95 NM SSW of Mauntauk, NY
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Not weath related but what are cookies?.It says it on the front page.


From an internet standpoint, cookies are small files left onyour machine with, typically, webpage data (login, etc.).

They can be used to track your movements, however...I prefer an RFID chip administered with a rifle, but cookies are effective as well
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Quoting seflagamma:


no we were in the "eye" also.. we had just gone thru eye wall then it got calm and we all went outside to see the damage...but did not have a very long calm before the other side of the eye wall rolled across. and we barely made it back inside. We probably did not get even 10 mins of calm and some areas got like 20-30 mins of calm in the eye..
We probably should not have risked going out that long either but had to see what had happened.

We would not have been out walking around in the eye wall.. that is where the nasty stuff was.. That backside was rough as the wind totally fliped direction..


I think the eye was fairly large by then..I am more in NCentral Broward out by SawgrassExpress.
I remember when I was a kid, and an eye passed over Key West, my Mom sent me to Royal Castle on my bike to pick up some hambergers. There was no electricity, and I remember a long line with the RC being filled up with smoke from their grill. I remember worrying that I wouldn't make it home in time before the back side hit, but I did. They used to tell us how long it would take for the eye to pass. I guess the storms move faster now?
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Quoting hydrus:
Hello Flood. I have not had a chance to really check(exactly) how warm the temps really are, but I am sure we have 90 degree,s spread out in some areas.


Yep...the TCHP is rather astronomical as well
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Quoting beell:


May be. I think it is more related to this:

Link
The weak surface trough in the BOC?
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Don't know, models were taken down on Wunderground.com/tropical after Gaston dissipated. I don't understand why the front page can't keep computer models runs on the remnants of a tropical cyclone. If they show models runs for Invests, they should also do the same for the remnants of a tropical cyclone, especially if those remnants are mentioned in the NHC tropical weather outlook like Gaston's are.


I was thinking the same thing. Although you can watch the models on other websites, it would be nice to see the related info and models here on the WU site for degenerated storms that have a possibility of regeneration.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Not weath related but what are cookies?.It says it on the front page.


Oh yes chocolate chip are awesome...
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676. TGTTX
Quoting ecflweatherfan:


Right on... yeah at that time. Rita smashed that record! Unfortunately...


Yep; don't want a repeat of that, either. With the way its setting up, though, sure seems like everything is falling into place for more history to be made.
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675. beell
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Hey CyberTed! Yeah, the CMC, ECMWF, and GFS (not sure about the NOGAPS) are all calling for a low pressure area to develop in the BOC within the 72 hours. It appears to me that what they are developing is 95E currently located in the Gulf of Tehuanepec.


May be. I think it is more related to this:

Link
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I need to get back to work and finish some reports.. will check back later.

been fun.
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672. myway
Quoting seflagamma:


no we were in the "eye" also.. we had just gone thru eye wall then it got calm and we all went outside to see the damage...but did not have a very long calm before the other side of the eye wall rolled across. and we barly made it back inside.
We probably should not have risked going out that long either but had to see what had happened.

We would not have been out walking around in the eye wall.. that is where the nasty stuff was..


I think the eye was fairly large by then..I am more in NCentral Broward out by SawgrassExpress.


Large Eye. Boca Raton on the north and Sunny Isles/Aventura to the south
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Not weath related but what are cookies?.It says it on the front page.
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Not weath related but what are cookies?.It says it on the front page.
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BTW in street speak "word to your mother" is REALLY good:)
Member Since: October 10, 2009 Posts: 27 Comments: 4456
Quoting TGTTX:


That is interesting, and hopefully not to be repeated.

Minor correction, however; Floyd was the largest peacetime evacuation up to that time; since then, Rita broke that record.


Right on... yeah at that time. Rita smashed that record! Unfortunately...
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Yeah kinda hard to buy into the weakness of ridge but here it is...
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Quoting kmanislander:
Interesting 72 hr forecast except for the fact that Gaston is already down to 1008 mbs now.

Check out the BOC. We might get some cyclogenesis there in a few days from 93E. Don't get the pressure on ex-Gaston though. Like you said, it's at 1008mb now.
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...DISCUSSION...

GULF OF MEXICO...
AN ELONGATED UPPER LOW IS ROUGHLY CENTERED OVER THE W GULF NEAR
25N92W EXTENDING AN AXIS FROM NEAR NEW ORLEANS LOUISIANA TO THE
BAY OF CAMPECHE NEAR 20N94W SUPPORTING A SURFACE TROUGH ANALYZED
FROM 22N95W TO THE COAST OF MEXICO NEAR 19N94W. WHILE ONLY A
WEAK WIND SHIFT IS NOTED WITH THIS SURFACE TROUGH FEATURE
MID/UPPER LEVEL MOISTURE IS BEING ADVECTED N-NE TO OVER MUCH OF
THE GULF GENERATING CLUSTERS OF SCATTERED SHOWERS/ISOLATED
THUNDERSTORMS FROM 24N-28N BETWEEN 84W-89W AND W OF 28N W OF
89W. A BROAD UPPER RIDGE DOMINATES THE REMAINDER OF THE GULF
ANCHORED OVER THE BAHAMAS. OTHERWISE...THE N GULF IS UNDER A
RELATIVELY WEAK RIDGE AXIS THAT EXTENDS FROM THE W ATLC ACROSS S
FLORIDA TO ALONG THE N GULF COAST TO OVER S LOUISIANA WITH A
1016 MB HIGH IN THE E GULF NEAR 28N85W. LIGHT ELY WINDS ARE
FORECAST THROUGH TODAY UNTIL A WEAK COLD FRONT STALLS OVER THE
NE GULF WATERS SAT THROUGH SUN

GOM is tranquil. Am out here near the oil spill site and hope it continues..Long Range GFS (384 hr) is scary..lets hope it doesn't happen...
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663. TGTTX
Quoting ecflweatherfan:


Just a little information, and not saying that it means anything in the longer term... but, On this day in 1999, Melbourne, Florida had a record high temperature of 95 degrees. Less than 2 weeks later, we, in Central Florida, were looking into the eye of Hurricane Floyd as it drew nearer as a monster Category 4 (which caused the largest peacetime evacuation in US history). It turned north and hit NC. Lo and behold, today's high temperature (so far) in Melbourne, Florida has been 95 degrees and we have an entity that was named Gaston located in the same general area as "Floyd" back then. Strange the coincidence. Hmmm???? Just sayin'. Hopefully this is another case where history does not repeat itself.


That is interesting, and hopefully not to be repeated.

Minor correction, however; Floyd was the largest peacetime evacuation up to that time; since then, Rita broke that record.
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Quoting HurricaneGeek:


Yes. We were in the actual EYE of the hurricane. I tell you there is nothing more surreal than that.
Remember, what made Wilma turn? That cold front. Probably against out better judgment, we went out in the eye and despite seeing dozen of trees and shingles scattered around as if a raccoon had gotten into to everything, it would have seemed like a beautiful day. It was rather chilly; especially after the storm.

So you were never in the eye eye, just the wall? Well I shouldn't say just the wall. Jajajajaja


no we were in the "eye" also.. we had just gone thru eye wall then it got calm and we all went outside to see the damage...but did not have a very long calm before the other side of the eye wall rolled across. and we barely made it back inside. We probably did not get even 10 mins of calm and some areas got like 20-30 mins of calm in the eye..
We probably should not have risked going out that long either but had to see what had happened.

We would not have been out walking around in the eye wall.. that is where the nasty stuff was.. That backside was rough as the wind totally fliped direction..


I think the eye was fairly large by then..I am more in NCentral Broward out by SawgrassExpress.
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I heard TWC discussing earlier the threat for flooding in the Boston area due to a boundary setting up of very heavy rain as "Earl" moves past the Cape Cod area later. I remember the same thing occurring in Central Florida with "Wilma" in 2005. As she moved across S FL, a cold front was coming south, and the convergence between this boundary and "Wilma" set the stage for very heavy rainfall. I had 13" of rain in a few hours here. Nevermind the temperature dropped from the low 80s at 3am to the mid 50s by noon.
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Quoting BLee2333:
I'm stuck here for another hour, at least... Medium Chief.

Ditto that...:(
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Hey CyberTed! Yeah, the CMC, ECMWF, and GFS (not sure about the NOGAPS) are all calling for a low pressure area to develop in the BOC within the 72 hours. It appears to me that what they are developing is 95E currently located in the Gulf of Tehuanepec.


'Appears' what happens is 95E some how manages to survive Mexico and develops in the Gulf.
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Interesting 72 hr forecast except for the fact that Gaston is already down to 1008 mbs now.

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Quoting Floodman:


And rather soundly shaken
Hello Flood. I have not had a chance to really check(exactly) how warm the temps really are, but I am sure we have 90 degree,s spread out in some areas.
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Quoting will40:
I dont work so i ammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm the Chief until Wife gets home from work!
word...

(see what you can learn on a weather blog)
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Anyways, I see we have 99L. The ECMWF, GFS, CMC and the NOGAPS all develop this system and most develop another behind it.
Hey CyberTed! Yeah, the CMC, ECMWF, and GFS (not sure about the NOGAPS) are all calling for a low pressure area to develop in the BOC within the next 72 hours. It appears to me that what they are developing is 95E currently located in the Gulf of Tehuanepec.
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I dont work so i ammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm the Chief until Wife gets home from work!
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Quoting pilotguy1:


Pure speculation.


S/He has been doing that for the past two weeks... Maybe a GutFeelingCaster
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Quoting seflagamma:
#630 HurricaneGeek, you are in WestPalmBeach, yes, you got a good taste of Wilma also!

eye probably went over your area also as it headed NE

we were on the "edge" of the eye not smack in the center....
and when the back side started "rolling across the 'glades from the west" I had never seen anything so scary looking..
I started screaming to everyone..
"get back in your house the other side is coming!"
and it is true, the "back side" was much worse than the front side...



Yes. We were in the actual EYE of the hurricane. I tell you there is nothing more surreal than that.
Remember, what made Wilma turn? That cold front. Probably against out better judgment, we went out in the eye and despite seeing dozen of trees and shingles scattered around as if a raccoon had gotten into to everything, it would have seemed like a beautiful day. It was rather chilly; especially after the storm.

So you were never in the eye eye, just the wall? Well I shouldn't say just the wall. Jajajajaja
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Quoting BLee2333:
I'm stuck here for another hour, at least... Medium Chief.
im here for 1 1/2 hrs <<<< not a chief
Member Since: October 10, 2009 Posts: 27 Comments: 4456
Anyways, I see we have 99L. The ECMWF, GFS, CMC and the NOGAPS all develop this system and most develop another behind it.
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I'm stuck here for another hour, at least... Medium Chief.
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Quoting angiest:


Well, she didn't cross the loop current to do that, correct? ;)

j/k

I knew I left her out.

not the one that Katrina and Rite went across in the GOM...
she hit her own "hot spot" in the NW Caribbean and exploded..
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.