Karl makes landfall near Veracruz; Igor slightly weaker

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:29 PM GMT on September 17, 2010

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Hurricane Karl made landfall on the Mexican coast ten miles north of Veracruz at 1pm EDT today as a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds. Veracruz was on the weak (left) side of Karl's eyewall, and did not receive hurricane force winds, except perhaps at the extreme northern edge of the city. Winds at the Veracruz Airport, located on the west side of the city, peaked at sustained speeds of 46 mph, gusting to 58 mph, at 11:54am local time. Radar out of Alvarado shows that Karl has kept its eyewall intact well inland, even as the storm moves into the high mountains east of Mexico City. Karl was the first major hurricane on record in the Bay of Campeche--the region of the Gulf of Mexico bounded by the Yucatan Peninsula on the east. There were two other major hurricanes that grazed the northern edge of the Bay of Campeche, Hurricane Hilda of 1955 and Hurricane Charley of 1951, but Karl is by far the farthest south a major hurricane has been in the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane records go back to 1851, but Karl is a small storm and could have gotten missed as being a major hurricane before the age of aircraft reconnaissance (1945).


Figure 1. Tracks of all major hurricanes since 1851 near Mexico's Bay of Campeche. Karl is most southerly storm on record in the Gulf of Mexico. Image credit: NOAA Coastal Services Center.

With Karl's ascension to major hurricane status, we are now ahead of the pace of the terrible hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005 for number of major hurricanes so early in the year. In 2005, the fifth major hurricane (Rita) did not occur until September 21, and in 2004, the fifth major hurricane (Karl) arrived on September 19. Wunderblogger Cotillion has put together a nice page showing all the seasons with five or more major hurricanes. The last time we had five major hurricanes earlier in the season was in 1961, when the fifth major hurricane (Esther) arrived on September 13. This morning we continue to have three simultaneous hurricanes, Hurricanes Igor, Julia, and Karl. This is a rare phenomena, having occurred only eight previous years since 1851. The last time we had three simultaneous hurricanes in the Atlantic was in 1998. That year also had four simultaneous hurricanes--Georges, Ivan, Jeanne and Karl--for a brief time on September 25. There has been just one other case of four simultaneous Atlantic hurricanes, on August 22, 1893. The year 2005 came within six hours of having three hurricanes at the same time, but the official data base constructed after the season was over indicates that the three hurricanes did not exist simultaneously.

Also remarkable this year is that are seeing major hurricanes in rare or unprecedented locations. Julia was the strongest hurricane on record so far east, Karl was the strongest hurricane so far south in the Gulf of Mexico, and Earl was the 4th strongest Atlantic hurricane so far north. This unusual major hurricane activity is likely due, in part, to the record Atlantic sea surface temperatures this year.


Figure 2. Hurricane Karl as seen by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite at 12:20 pm CDT on Thursday, September 16, 2010. Image credit: NASA.


Figure 3. Radar image of Karl at landfall in Mexico. Image credit: Mexican Weather Service.

Impact of Karl on Mexico
Given that the Bay of Campeche coast has never experienced a hurricane as strong as Karl, its impact is likely to cause major damage to a 50-mile wide coastal area beginning ten miles north of Veracruz. Fortunately, the coast is not heavily populated there, and is not particularly low-lying, so the 12 - 15 foot storm surge will not be the major concern from Karl. The main concern will be flooding from Karl's torrential rains. The region has been hit by three Category 2 hurricanes over the past 55 years, and two of these storms caused flooding that killed hundreds. The strongest hurricanes in history to affect the region were Item in 1950, with 110 mph winds, Janet in 1955, with 100 mph winds, and Diana of 1990, with 100 mph winds. Flooding from Janet killed over 800 people in Mexico. and flooding from Diana killed at least 139 people. Karl's high winds are also a major concern, and these winds are likely to extensive damage.

Igor
The Hurricane Hunters just left Hurricane Igor, and found that the hurricane has continued to slowly weaken. On their last pass through the eye of Igor at 1:49 pm EDT, an Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft found a central pressure of 947 mb. The eyewall was missing a chunk on its southwest side. Top winds at the surface as seen by their SFMR instrument were barely Category 1 strength, 76 mph, though the aircraft did see 117 mph winds at 10,000 feet, which suggests the surface winds were probably of Category 2 strength, 105 mph.


Figure 4. Hurricane Igor as seen by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite at 10:50 am EDT on Thursday, September 16, 2010. Image credit: NASA.

Igor's impact on Bermuda
Hurricane warnings are now flying for Bermuda, and tropical storm force winds will arrive at the island late Saturday night. Igor is a huge storm, and tropical storm force winds extend out 290 miles to the north of its center. As the hurricane moves north, it will expand in size, as it takes advantage of the extra spin available at higher latitudes due to Earth's rotation. By Saturday night, Igor's tropical storm force winds are expected to extend outwards 320 miles from the center. Igor will be moving at about 11 - 13 mph during the final 24 hours of its approach to Bermuda, so the island can expect a period of 39+ mph tropical storm force winds to begin near midnight Saturday night--a full 24 hours before the core of Igor arrives. Igor will speed up to about 15 mph as it passes the island near midnight Sunday night, and Bermuda's battering by tropical storm force winds will not be as long as Igor moves away, perhaps 10 hours long. Hurricane force winds will probably extend out about 70 miles from the center when the core of Igor reaches Bermuda, and the island can expect to be pounded by hurricane force winds for up to 6 - 8 hours. In all, Bermuda is likely to suffer a remarkably long 36-hour period of tropical storm force winds, with the potential for many hours of hurricane force winds. Long duration poundings like this are very stressful for buildings, and there is the potential for significant damage on Bermuda. However, buildings in Bermuda are some of the best-constructed in the world, and if Igor weakens to Category 2 strength, as appears likely, damage on the island may be just a few million dollars. According to AIR Worldwide, "Homes in Bermuda are typically one or two stories and constructed of 'Bermuda Stone,' a locally quarried limestone, or of concrete blocks. Roofs are commonly made of limestone slate tiles cemented together. Commercial buildings, typically of reinforced concrete construction, rarely exceed six stories. In both residential and commercial buildings, window openings are generally small and window shutters are common. These features make Bermuda's building stock quite resistant to winds, and homes are designed to withstand sustained winds of 110 mph and gusts of up to 150 mph."

Bermuda's hurricane history
Igor is similar in strength and projected track to Hurricane Fabian of 2003. Fabian hit Bermuda as a Category 3 hurricane with 120 mph winds. It was the most damaging hurricane ever to hit the island, with $355 million in damage. Fabian's storm surge killed four people crossing a causeway on the island. These were the first hurricane deaths on Bermuda since 1926. The most powerful hurricane on record to strike Bermuda was the Category 4 Havana-Bermuda Hurricane, which hit on October 22, 1926, with 135 mph winds. The hurricane sank two British warships, claiming 88 lives, but no one was killed on the island. The deadliest hurricane to affect the island occurred on September 12, 1839, when a Category 3 hurricane with 125 mph winds and an 11-foot storm surge hit, tearing off the roofs of hundreds of buildings and wrecking several ships. An estimated 100 people were killed (source: Encyclopedia of Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Cyclones, by David Longshore.)

Elsewhere in the tropics
A tropical wave off the coast of Africa, a few hundred miles south of the Cape Verdes Islands, is disorganized, but has the potential for some slow development over the next few days. The NOGAPS model develops this wave into a tropical depression 4 - 5 days from now. NHC is giving the wave a 10% of developing into a tropical depression by Sunday.

I'll have a new post on Saturday.

Jeff Masters

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1098. bwat
Quoting Seastep:


Krycek, relax.

You will no doubt find out, as most do, that you learn more in the first 6 months on your first job than you did in all four years.

There is no substitute for live.
+1000000, I got proof, WU mail me if you wanna know.
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1097. angiest
Quoting LiveToFish0430:


im 20 and i have been coming to this blog for weather for years. i have learned so much here. ive never made a post before,i usually just come in and check what everyone is saying about the tropics. but once i saw you mention cystic fibrosis, i felt compelled to say something because i can relate to everything yuo guys go through


Our daughter was diagnosed essentially at birth, she had meconium illeus and was in the NICU for about 15 weeks.

She has just recently cultures pseudomonas for the first time since she was in the NICU and we are doing TOBI for the first time.

What a life, but unless you can see the surgery scars or her mic-key button, you would never know anything has been wrong with her. She is one of the happiest children you would ever see.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Quoting flsky:

When I lived in SoCal, a good rain year was when we had 14"!
Yes but if you come here (Mobile AL)bring your "Boat"....

Taco :o)
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3261
Quoting HaboobsRsweet:

Yea to me it is really all about the experience...when I refer to a met I am just really talking about someone that has had some sort of training and have forecasted through many seasons and experience many different things. That is what makes someone an expert in my opinion. However, I think part of it also means you have had to make decisions that have impacts on people, places, or items. Forecasting for fun and making an offical forecast for something that has a major impact on something is a huge difference. You start to second guess yourself when something is on the line.
Good point. (I wouldn't know, not doing short-term operational forecasts, but I can see the point.)

(I build QC algorithms for data, operationally run assimilation and forecast models, atmospheric and surge, and am the HPC admin, among other hats I wear).
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Quoting flsky:

When I lived in SoCal, a good rain year was when we had 14"!




This last August we had almost 12", about 5" more than normal, and half our total for the year. Lots was remnant of Gaston hanging around.
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Trop. Storm Julia & Igor

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9814
Quoting bwat:
The problem is respect. Everyone has totally lost respect for their elders! When I say elders, I'm not talking about age, I'm talking about time on the blog. I just joined last year and "try" to be respectful. I've seen so many negative comments by people that have joined july, august, and september of this year. It's crazy, we need more moderation! Ok, weather tidbit so I don't get banned.....Igor is looking better, think we can see a small increase in intensity at 5:00am.


It takes a while for new folks to really get in to the swing of things. Although many of those new folks have actually been watching for a year or two before joining.

I don't think we need more moderation. The personalities and differences are what really makes this such a great place.

GFS starting to come out. Has anyone seen any reports from Mx?
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16541
1091. Seastep
Quoting Krycek1984:


Saying a degree doesn't matter is an insult to people that spent 4 years of their life (often more if going part-time) and may be in significant debt. It really is. I'm almost done with my accounting degree and I'll tell you what, there's no way that someone could learn all of the information in an accounting degree unless they had at LEAST 15 years of on-the-job experience, especially to be equivalent to a CPA's eduction.

There are several degrees out there that are not "hard core", but still.

And to say a met degree "doesn't matter" is ridiculous. I'd like to see those of you who make that argument make it through 4 years of math and physics and then say it doesn't matter.


Krycek, relax.

You will no doubt find out, as most do, that you learn more in the first 6 months on your first job than you did in all four years.

There is no substitute for live.

Paper is not worthless, though. Need it.
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Quoting angiest:


She is four and a half.

im 20 and i have been coming to this blog for weather for years. i have learned so much here. ive never made a post before,i usually just come in and check what everyone is saying about the tropics. but once i saw you mention cystic fibrosis, i felt compelled to say something because i can relate to everything yuo guys go through
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Quoting beell:


Just making sure I am reading it right. As an example...

For the 24hr/62nm cone radii in the first row. The value is 124.7. Does this mean the error was 62.7nm?


No, the error was 124.7 nautical miles, well outside the cone for that forecast. I think you are confusing radii with diameter. At 24 hr the cone radii is 62nm, which would result in a 124nm circle.
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1088. angiest
Quoting AllBoardedUp:
It was my assumption that he was employed by some company, etc, to do weather forecasting. That is what I'm wanting to know. He retired from the Coast Guard, most people find new careers after their 20 years in the military.


Ahh, ISTR seeing that he does something at least part time, and he is apparently still used by the Coast Guard in some form or another. I'm not *that* familiar, however.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
1087. DDR
Pottery,St Benedict from where i live...looking wnw

img src="Image Hosting by imagefra.me">
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Quoting StormJunkie:


Thanks for doing that nrti! It has been nice to see the actual error in the NHC forecasts. Which has not been a whole lot. 285 mile cone and they were only off by 151 miles 5 days out.


PLEASE...
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Quoting CalTex:


I tried that, but the preview showed a box with an X where the image was supposed to be, and I'd copied the URL into the scripting box.

However, I'm using IE7 (with Vista Home Basic) and Kaspersky Internet Security, and sometimes my computer blocks stuff I'm trying to do.


Hmmm.... I dunno bout no IE stuff.... lol

OK, lemme see, all you should really need would be an Image Tag, put it on its own line.

Try [img src="enter url here"] but replace the [] brackets with the corresponding [Shift]+comma and period and put the URL for the pic between the quotes where I noted it.

( I can't out the proper brackets in this post because it will try to execute the tag )

I hope that all makes sense....
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Keeping an eye on Africa...


Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9814
Quoting angiest:


Apparently I didn't do a good job of displaying sarcasm tonight....

What was the question?
It was my assumption that he was employed by some company, etc, to do weather forecasting. That is what I'm wanting to know. He retired from the Coast Guard, most people find new careers after their 20 years in the military.
Member Since: July 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 626
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


You are correct, the average forecast error for the 12 hour forecast is 33.8 nautical miles. At the 12 hour point the cone radii is 36 nautical miles. More impressive is the 120 hour error of 151 nautical miles where the cone radii for 120 hours is 285 nautical miles.


Thanks for doing that nrti! It has been nice to see the actual error in the NHC forecasts. Which has not been a whole lot. 285 mile cone and they were only off by 151 miles 5 days out.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16541
Quoting clwstmchasr:


The NHC gets plenty of criticism on this blog.


Oh, I agree. Except, there are some people who just refuse to believe the NHC is anything other than perfect. And that does apply to other forecasting sources as well. None are perfect. Its our job to use our own minds to take all the different viewpoints and draw our own conclusions. Obviously, we will tend to side with the source we are most confident in. For some, that's the NHC, for others its the computer models, others it a Levi, or a StormW or Drakoen. And we should all be able to make that decision without being ridiculed and attacked by others.

Heck, its taken me 3 years on here just to feel confident enough to even ask questions. And make a prediction or forecast of my own? You got to be kidding! But I've learned enough to know who has real information and who is just blowing hot air.

Now, having survived Betsy, Camille, Katrina and Gustav, and the BP oil spill, I'd really appreciate it if everyone here would use whatever talent they have to keep any storms away from New Orleans this year? PLEASE?
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1080. 7544
Quoting xcool:
getting about time to start focus on Close To Home for tropical development.....


wow a post about the tropics ok im in the right blog is igor wobble west again
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Quoting HaboobsRsweet:

That is incorrect...you can enlist in the military and become a forecaster and they do not have degrees. They are amazing forecasters and many have very long careers in weather and when they retire many places hire then to continue weather because of their experience without degrees.


That's absolutely correct, and not the only example. There are many many careers where one can train as an apprentice, or make a switch from another career and apply experience from a related field. (I removed this part because it sounded wrong, sorry)

In my field, I see lots of painters who are excellent, highly technically skilled and trained, but got it in the field from mentorship rather than BFA or MFA. They are certainly not hobbyists. And yet we have galleries, run by folks with MFA's or MA's who will only hang work by other MFA's. It's downright silly.

JMO. :)

BTW - Good evening. Who stole the coffee pot!?
Member Since: September 4, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 410
1078. bwat
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The blog has problems tonight...Wunderground is going to be empty soon. Its a chain reaction...

Storm leaves -> Other people leave -> Other people leave

And so on...
The problem is respect. Everyone has totally lost respect for their elders! When I say elders, I'm not talking about age, I'm talking about time on the blog. I just joined last year and "try" to be respectful. I've seen so many negative comments by people that have joined july, august, and september of this year. It's crazy, we need more moderation! Ok, weather tidbit so I don't get banned.....Igor is looking better, think we can see a small increase in intensity at 5:00am.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
You just described Storm's qualifications...
Just sayin.

yea which is probably why I respected his opinion over many others. there are still quite a few on here that I still do but man there is so much junk posted on here it is draning filtering through it all haha.
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1075. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #28
TYPHOON FANAPI (T1011)
12:00 PM JST September 18 2010
================================

SUBJECT: Category Four Typhoon In Sea South Of Okinawa

At 3:00 AM UTC, Typhoon Fanapi (940 hPa) located at 23.5N 125.7E has 10 minute sustained winds of 85 knots with gusts of 120 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west northwest at 6 knots

Dvorak Intensity:

Storm Force Winds
=================
80 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
================
180 NM from the center

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
24 HRS: 24.1N 121.7E - 85 knots (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)
45 HRS: 24.1N 118.1E - 55 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm)
69 HRS: 24.2N 113.8E - Tropical Depression
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1074. xcool
getting about time to start focus on Close To Home for tropical development.....
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Quoting AllBoardedUp:
I have a 4 year degree and I don't think its worth the paper its printed on.

Sometimes, in some occupations, experience can and does substitute for education.

You still didn't answer my question.


Saying a degree doesn't matter is an insult to people that spent 4 years of their life (often more if going part-time) and may be in significant debt. It really is. I'm almost done with my accounting degree and I'll tell you what, there's no way that someone could learn all of the information in an accounting degree unless they had at LEAST 15 years of on-the-job experience, especially to be equivalent to a CPA's eduction.

There are several degrees out there that are not "hard core", but still.

And to say a met degree "doesn't matter" is ridiculous. I'd like to see those of you who make that argument make it through 4 years of math and physics and then say it doesn't matter.
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1072. flsky
Quoting clwstmchasr:


As long as Dr. Masters continues his posts then I'll continue to check in for updates

Yep
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1071. will40
Quoting CalTex:


I tried that, but the preview showed a box with an X where the image was supposed to be, and I'd copied the URL into the scripting box.

However, I'm using IE7 (with Vista Home Basic) and Kaspersky Internet Security, and sometimes my computer blocks stuff I'm trying to do.


ok you must right click the image and save url. Dont just ust the url that shows at top of browser
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 4227
Quoting atmoaggie:

Maybe you didn't see my response to you an hour ago...

Many of the better hobbyists in here have researched so well, I'd say the only thing they do lack is all of that mostly useless math.

Yea to me it is really all about the experience...when I refer to a met I am just really talking about someone that has had some sort of training and have forecasted through many seasons and experience many different things. That is what makes someone an expert in my opinion. However, I think part of it also means you have had to make decisions that have impacts on people, places, or items. Forecasting for fun and making an offical forecast for something that has a major impact on something is a huge difference. You start to second guess yourself when something is on the line.
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Quoting JRnOldsmar:
Next buoy is coming up. This might make it close to Igor's center. 12 hours maybe?
BR

Wind speed goes up, pressure goes down...
that means something.
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1068. Seastep
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The blog has problems tonight...Wunderground is going to be empty soon. Its a chain reaction...

Storm leaves -> Other people leave -> Other people leave

And so on...


Not really.

Goodnight.
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1067. beell
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Not sure what your question is. At the top of the spreadsheet is the cone radii for each forecast hour and below that the actual error for each forecast.


Just making sure I am reading it right. As an example...

For the 24hr/62nm cone radii in the first row. The value is 124.7. Does this mean the error was 62.7nm?
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1063. flsky
Quoting PcolaDan:
rain trivia

The 10 rainiest cities in the U.S. by amount of annual rainfall include:

* Mobile, Alabama--67 inches average annual rainfall; 59 average annual rainy days
* Pensacola, Florida--65 inches average annual rainfall; 56 average annual rainy days
* New Orleans, Louisiana--64 inches average annual rainfall; 59 average annual rainy days
* West Palm Beach, Florida--63 inches average annual rainfall; 58 average annual rainy days
* Lafayette, Louisiana--62 inches average annual rainfall; 55 average annual rainy days
* Baton Rouge, Louisiana--62 inches average annual rainfall; 56 average annual rainy days
* Miami, Florida--62 inches average annual rainfall; 57 average annual rainy days
* Port Arthur, Texas--61 inches average annual rainfall; 51 average annual rainy days
* Tallahassee, Florida--61 inches average annual rainfall; 56 average annual rainy days
* Lake Charles, Louisiana--58 inches average annual rainfall; 50 average annual rainy days

The study ranked 195 cities in the contiguous 48 states by the amount of rainfall they received annually over a 30-year period, although Olympia actually had the most rainy days on average across the three decades (63) of all the cities in the study. Mobile came in second on the latter scale, with 59 average annual rainy days. (Several cities in Alaska and Hawaii actually receive more than 100 inches of rain a year, but were not included in the study.)

When I lived in SoCal, a good rain year was when we had 14"!
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Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6032
1060. 7544
hmm thats a big drop
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1059. CalTex
Quoting CaptnDan142:


The button the the right of Link should say Image. Click it for a popup, then paste the URL of the image there as you would for a link.


I tried that, but the preview showed a box with an X where the image was supposed to be, and I'd copied the URL into the scripting box.

However, I'm using IE7 (with Vista Home Basic) and Kaspersky Internet Security, and sometimes my computer blocks stuff I'm trying to do.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1058. angiest
Quoting LiveToFish0430:


angiest, how old is your daughter? i also have cystic fibrisis


She is four and a half.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
1057. will40
well this is the internet anybody can have a degree
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 4227

whoa 939 is a significant drop since the 11pm forecast
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1054. angiest
Quoting HaboobsRsweet:

That is incorrect...you can enlist in the military and become a forecaster and they do not have degrees. They are amazing forecasters and many have very long careers in weather and when they retire many places hire then to continue weather because of their experience without degrees.


That was sarcasm. I have a degree, in a position that requires a degree, but doing a job for which there is no degree. Knowledge is what is necessary to do a job, regardless of its source.

Former Supreme Court Justice and lead prosecutor of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, Robert Jackson, did now have a law degree...
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The blog has problems tonight...Wunderground is going to be empty soon. Its a chain reaction...

Storm leaves -> Other people leave -> Other people leave

And so on...

It started before Storm...Seems to be the feature blogger curse.
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1050. pottery
Quoting StormJunkie:


You stay or NO SOUP FOR YOU!

As for the claim that I am close minded...Well that is one thing I have never been called. I'll ponder it in the coming days. See if some contemplation gives me some insight on it. Always thought I was pretty open minded actually. I have no problem looking for flaws with in myself.

I know I can come across as a jerk sometimes when I have no intention of being a jerk.

Well, you could change your ways, and accept without question anything that is said by others....
But then, I for one would lose my respect for you.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24311
Quoting angiest:
956 - My youngest daughter has cystic fibrosis. We once spent 4 hours at a doctor, 2 in the waiting room, 1 in the exam room before seeing anyone, and 1 between seeing the nurse and the doctor. Multi-hour appointments where we are constantly seeing people are not uncommon either. Such is life with chronic conditions.


angiest, how old is your daughter? i also have cystic fibrisis
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The blog has problems tonight...Wunderground is going to be empty soon. Its a chain reaction...

Storm leaves -> Other people leave -> Other people leave

And so on...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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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.