Nicole kills five in Jamaica; historic rains in North Carolina; tornadoes in the Mid-Atlantic

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:23 PM GMT on September 30, 2010

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The season's fourteenth named storm, Tropical Storm Nicole, lasted only six hours as a tropical storm, but triggered torrential heavy rains that caused havoc from the Caribbean to North Carolina. In Jamaica, flash flooding from Nicole's rains killed at least five, and several other people were swept away by flood waters and are feared dead. The storm cut power to 170,000 island residents, and caused millions of dollars in damages. Nicole dumped 6.93" of rain on Kingston, and 8.62" in the Kingston suburb of Norbrook. Rains were heavier on the western end of the island; 8.47" fell at a personal weather station at Irwindale before the power failed and data was lost.


Figure 1. NASA MODIS satellite image of Tropical Storm Nicole at 2:20pm EDT on 9/29/10. Image credit: NASA.


Figure 2. Flooding in Jamaica from Tropical Storm Nicole. Image credit: Jamaica Observer.

In Southeast Florida, Nicole brought 5.83" of rain to Miami, 9.58" to Plantation Key, and 5.44" to Homestead. However, Florida escaped serious flooding. Cuba also received widespread rain amounts of 5 - 10 inches, but there are no reports of serious flooding on the island. The remnants of Nicole will continue to bring heavy rains to portions of Cuba, the Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas today.

Historic rainfall event for eastern North Carolina
In North Carolina, the the tropical moisture streaming northwards in advance of Nicole has generated an epic rainfall event. Wilmington, NC recorded 20.69 inches of rain over the past four days, and 21.28" for the five-day period ending at 10am EDT this morning. The incredible rainfall totals have eclipsed the city's record for heaviest 4-day and 5-day rainfall events, set in September 1999 during Hurricane Floyd (19.06".) Another 1 - 3 inches of rain are likely today in Wilmington, which might make this month the rainiest month in city history. A series of non-tropical low pressure systems have been developing along a stalled front off the Carolina/North Carolina coast over the past day, and this activity will continue through tonight before the rains finally end late tonight. The historic rainfall is causing severe and damaging flooding across much of eastern North Carolina. Fortunately, eastern North Carolina was under moderate drought conditions prior to this week's rainfall onslaught, so the flooding damage will not be as great as the billions of dollars of damage wrought by Hurricane Floyd.


Figure 3. Radar-estimated precipitation for North Carolina since Sunday shows that the precursor moisture from Nicole has brought widespread rain amounts in excess of ten inches to eastern North Carolina, with over fifteen inches (white colors surrounded by dark purple) near Wilmington.

Heavy rain, flooding, and tornadoes expected from Virginia to New England
The intense plume of tropical moisture streaming northwards along the U.S. East coast will bring heavy rains of 3 - 6 inches across a wide swath of coast from North Carolina northwards to New England today and Friday. The wunderground severe weather map shows that flood warnings are already posted for portions of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, and flood watches extend northwards though Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and the rest of New England. Tornado watches have been posted for much of the Mid-Atlantic coast, and NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has put the region in their "slight risk" area for severe weather. One tornado warning has already been issued for coastal Virginia this morning. Three possible tornadoes were reported yesterday in northeastern North Carolina.

Disturbance 97L
Two tropical waves, located 600 - 1000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, are generating a large area of disorganized thunderstorms. NHC has designated this area Invest 97L this morning. The SHIPS model predicts that wind shear over 97L will remain moderate, 10 - 20 knots, through Saturday morning, then increase to levels marginal for development, 15 - 25 knots, Saturday afternoon through Monday. Some slow development of 97L is likely over this time period, and NHC is giving it a 30% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Saturday. The system is headed west-northwest at 15 mph, and should slow down to about 10 mph by Saturday. 97L will bring heavy rains and strong gusty winds to the Lesser Antilles Islands on Sunday and Monday. The ECMWF model is the only model that develops 97L, and foresees that 97L will track across the northern Lesser Antilles and pass near Puerto Rico on Monday and the eastern Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands by Wednesday. There are major differences in how the models handle the steering current forecast for next week, and the long-range track of 97L is highly uncertain at this point.


Figure 4. Morning satellite image of Invest 97L. The upper right portion on the disturbance, centered near 13.5N 45W, is most likely to develop into a tropical depression.

Next update
I'll have an update Friday morning.

Jeff Masters

Post Tropical Storm Nicole Sunset. (bethinking)
Taken at the Lower Sugarloaf Key Estuary as the skies cleared after TS Nicole moved north.
Post Tropical Storm Nicole Sunset.
Hooray for the power company! (AnnaThomas)
Current rain storm took out a tree and a power line. This is what my front yard looks like right now. Praise the power company for responding so quickly- so I could post this picture!
Hooray for the power company!

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Quoting CosmicEvents:
A name would have no effect on their actions.


I think a name would have more people concerned and prepared. The amount of rain that they're getting there is almost equal (already) to what Faye dropped in Florida, and we had major issues with that. A lot of our emergency efforts don't kick in until there is a named system.

You tell me it's going to be rainy and a little windy because of a front, and I'm not even grabbing and umbrella. You tell me there's a TS coming, and I'm buying candles, water, and stocking up on board games.

I'm just pointing out that there seems to be a stigma with the naming convention and the "fear-factor" it generates. It seems that leaving the name here for that reason might've been beneficial. I can't think of many good reasons to remove a name when the conditions in the affected area are going to be the same as a named system.
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Standing water in my front yard... about 1-2 inches of it... Ontario, NY
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271. nativ
Quoting Patrap:
Anything for Buck and Hype..is their motto..

Accuweather believes Nicole is still Tropical and is nearing Hurricane strength.

..Ignore the official classification of Nicole as a "remnant low" or even a "tropical rainstorm," as the effects will be similar to that of a hurricane from eastern North Carolina to New England..


I have got family up there who said they are getting pounded by the rain and no one expected it to be this bad cause there is no name. Better to overhype than underhype
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Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting wxhatt:


Thanks for the sanity in all this. :)


Well that will surely wane as Im a Saints fan ya know.

Esp come Sundays.

LOL
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It is pouring here in Rochester... Just got upgraded to a Flood Warning here
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Sitting here watching a long skinny waterspout desend from the clouds to the West of Providenciales.
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Quoting Patrap:


Nicole was absorbed into the Baroclinic flow/system so thats a moot concern now.
Impacts are what count,,not their genesis or demise or morphing into another phase of evolution.

This was all forecasted and its followed pretty well as to the consensus from Monday.


Thanks for the sanity in all this. :)
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Quoting Patrap:


Well..Im not a met,,but the Long Range show this pattern staying in place for a week still to come so Id say the odds are they will follow the script as iz for now.
Thanks. I don't know who are Mets here but you seem to know where to go to get the info. Sure looks that way to me, that the train will keep going unless one of these fronts weaken. Someone needs to turn off the spigot.
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Quoting FSUCOOPman:


This is where I question what the true purpose of the NHC's watches\warnings\classications are...

Is it to merely throw out classifications based on hard thresholds, IE: this system has 42 mph sustained winds, so it's a TS.

Or is the purpose to adequately inform the people in a storm's path of the type on conditions that they'll encounter?

I would like to think the latter is more in the forefront.

Does anyone know? I guess this could get kinda political.
I'm all for alerting people and keeping public safety first and foremost. But, there's bad snow/cold events in the winter. These don't get a name. Neither do rain events in the middle of the country that cause great flooding. As I understand it, this just is no way no how a tropical system. It's origins may be partly tropical, but that's true of tornado events in Tennessee(for example) when you get tropical flow butting against the northern jet.
.
.
I really don't think at this point that the folks in the effected area care if "it" has a name right now. A name would have no effect on their actions.
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Quoting wxhatt:


Thanks. Where or Who on Accuweather said that?
One week in August, in OKC, Accuweather said 90's and partly cloudy...was clear and 108-112 all week...just sayin'
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Quoting JupiterFL:


Convection on the increase. Looks like it wants to really get its act together this afternoon.


Sure is... I don't blame NHC for holding off on increasing chances until probably seeing additional convection during or after DMIN and may be additional support like GFS. If it can definitely hold itself together after DMIN then we could see further organization by DMAX tomorrow.
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Coming down HARD now...
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24023
Quoting wxhatt:


Do you believe that's ex-nicole though?


Nicole was absorbed into the Baroclinic flow/system so thats a moot concern now.
Impacts are what count,,not their genesis or demise or morphing into another phase of evolution.

This was all forecasted and its followed pretty well as to the consensus from Monday.
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Quoting reedzone:
I just wanted to point out something that people misunderstood me on Nicole yesterday.. While I had said she looked organized, and she did, I also said she lacks a very important factor in her state, a well defined LLC. After I said she looked organized in banding and convection, I was pretty much torn apart on here. This is a weather blog, I have EVERY write to write what I had predicted and felt Nicole was going to do. Just wanted to state all the immaturity on this blog, it really needs to stop.
Yes! I do remember you posting that specifically and I took note of it myself. Didn't they classify it initially as a "monsoonal depression" which may explain why it was so disorganized to begin with. Also, kudos to you on that initial projected path! You made a very accurate and educated prediction there. Good job Reed
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SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS IN THIS AREA ARE HAVE BECOME SLIGHTLY
BETTER ORGANIZED...AND UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE FORECAST TO BE
MARGINALLY FAVORABLE FOR DEVELOPMENT AS THE SYSTEM MOVES WEST-
NORTHWESTWARD AT 15 TO 20 MPH. THERE IS A MEDIUM CHANCE...30
PERCENT
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Dr. Masters on 97L..

Disturbance 97L
Two tropical waves, located 600 - 1000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, are generating a large area of disorganized thunderstorms. NHC has designated this area Invest 97L this morning. The SHIPS model predicts that wind shear over 97L will remain moderate, 10 - 20 knots, through Saturday morning, then increase to levels marginal for development, 15 - 25 knots, Saturday afternoon through Monday. Some slow development of 97L is likely over this time period, and NHC is giving it a 30% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Saturday. The system is headed west-northwest at 15 mph, and should slow down to about 10 mph by Saturday. 97L will bring heavy rains and strong gusty winds to the Lesser Antilles Islands on Sunday and Monday. The ECMWF model is the only model that develops 97L, and foresees that 97L will track across the northern Lesser Antilles and pass near Puerto Rico on Monday and the eastern Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands by Wednesday. There are major differences in how the models handle the steering current forecast for next week, and the long-range track of 97L is highly uncertain at this point.
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raining in s california... a sign of an upcoming el nino?
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Quoting Patrap:
NEXRAD Radar
Wilmington, Storm Relative Mean Radial Velocity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 124 NMI

Be aware in N. Carolina that the next inbound round is showing a LOTTA rotation within it.





Do you believe that's ex-nicole though?
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Quoting kwgirl:
Patrap, do you think 97L will be pulled in behind remnants of Nicole and join the train up the east coast? What does the forecast say about the high lessening in strength? The only relief I see is for one of the systems giving way to break this train. Your thoughts please.


Well..Im not a met,,but the Long Range show this pattern staying in place for a week still to come so Id say the odds are they will follow the script as iz for now.
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Quoting WxLogic:
AL, 97, 2010093012, , BEST, 0, 120N, 485W, 25, 1009, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,

Low level convergence getting established on the N SW and SE quadrants:



Upper level divergence is there thanks to the ULL to the NW of it:



Given that there's also a well established upper level high on top of 97L don't see why the chances for additional development could be hampered and I would expect a 50% to 60% chance of development in the next 48HRs:



Convection on the increase. Looks like it wants to really get its act together this afternoon.
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245. myway
Quoting weaverwxman:
wouldn't mind a Floyd type situation curve at last minute....


Except the hysteria and evacuation thing.
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Quoting Patrap:
Patrap, do you think 97L will be pulled in behind remnants of Nicole and join the train up the east coast? What does the forecast say about the high lessening in strength? The only relief I see is for one of the systems giving way to break this train. Your thoughts please.
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Quoting CaribBoy:
30%


Indeed... NHC kept it at 30%.
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SAW9
WW 689 TORNADO DE MD PA CW 301640Z - 302300Z
AXIS..50 STATUTE MILES EAST AND WEST OF LINE..
45NW ABE/ALLENTOWN PA/ - 35SE NHK/PATUXENT RIVER MD/
..AVIATION COORDS.. 45NM E/W /36NNW ETX - 33SW SBY/
HAIL SURFACE AND ALOFT..0.5 INCH. WIND GUSTS..60 KNOTS.
MAX TOPS TO 400. MEAN STORM MOTION VECTOR 21040.

LAT...LON 41097508 37917505 37917687 41097700

THIS IS AN APPROXIMATION TO THE WATCH AREA. FOR A
COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE WOUS64 KWNS
FOR WOU9.


Watch 689 Status Report Message has not been issued yet.
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THE HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER

CAMP SPRINGS, MD

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

STORM SUMMARY MESSAGE

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


STORM SUMMARY NUMBER 5 FOR HEAVY RAINS ACROSS THE MID ATLANTIC AND
NORTHEAST
NWS HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER CAMP SPRINGS MD
1100 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010

...HEAVY RAIN AND WIND SPREADING NORTHWARD ACROSS THE
MID-ATLANTIC...

FLASH FLOOD WATCHES...WARNINGS...AND ADVISORIES REMAIN IN EFFECT
FROM THE NORTHERN COAST OF SOUTH CAROLINA...NORTHWARD THROUGH
NORTH CAROLINA AND VIRGINIA...AND INTO PENNSYLVANIA AND THE NEW
ENGLAND STATES. HIGH WIND WARNINGS HAVE BEEN ISSUED FOR PORTIONS
OF SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND AND HIGH WIND WATCHES FOR NORTHERN MAINE.


FOR A DETAILED GRAPHICAL DEPICTION OF THE LATEST
WATCHES...WARNINGS AND ADVISORIES...PLEASE SEE WWW.WEATHER.GOV

AT 1100 AM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADARS AND
SURFACE OBSERVATIONS INDICATED A SURFACE FRONT WAS DRAPED ACROSS
THE EASTERN SEABOARD AND A LARGE AREA OF PRECIPITATION HAS SPREAD
NORTHWARD OVER MOST OF THE NORTHEAST AND THE MID-ATLANTIC STATES.
MODERATE TO HEAVY RAIN WAS FALLING FROM NORTH CAROLINA NORTHWARD
TO PARTS OF NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND. OBSERVATIONS ALSO INDICATED A
996 MB...29.41 INCH...SURFACE LOW WAS LOCATED ALONG THE FRONT...
NEAR THE NORTH CAROLINA/VIRGINIA BORDER. A SECONDARY 996
MB...29.41 INCH...LOW PRESSURE CENTER WAS OBSERVED OFF THE
NORTHEAST FLORIDA COAST.

...SELECTED STORM TOTAL RAINFALL IN INCHES FROM 800 AM EDT TUE SEP
28 THROUGH 900 AM EDT THU SEP 30...

...MARYLAND...
PATUXENT RIVER 7.14
ANNAPOLIS 3.83
BALTIMORE 2.04

...NORTH CAROLINA...
WILMINGTON 8.51
GRIFTON 6.74
JACKSONVILLE 6.31
GREENVILLE 5.77
NEW RIVER MCAS 5.73
ELIZABETH CITY 5.40
CHERRY POINT 5.20
WHITEHALL 5.13
GREENSBORO 4.83
SOUTHERN PINES/MOORE CO. ARPT 4.21
LAURINBURG-MAXTON ARPT 3.97
ROCKY MOUNT 3.87
NEW BERN/CRAVEN CO. ARPT 3.60
HOFFMAN/MACKALL AAF 3.54
RALEIGH 3.45
LUMBERTON 3.14
BEAUFORT/SMITH FIELD 3.03
SEYMOUR-JOHNSON AFB 2.92
FAYETTEVILLE 2.63
HATTERAS/BILLY MITCHELL AP 2.54
WINSTON-SALEM 2.20

...PENNSYLVANIA...
LANCASTER 2.36

...SOUTH CAROLINA...
SOCASTEE 4.82
QUINBY 4.74
MCCLELLANVILLE 4.69
CONWAY 4.42
KINGSTREE 4.39
FLORENCE RGNL ARPT 3.55
HUGER 5 NNW 3.37
WITHERBEE 3.37
HILTON HEAD 3.32
ISLE OF PALMS 3.32
DARLINGTON 2.54
NORTH MYRTLE BEACH 2.21
DOWNTOWN CHARLESTON 2.19

...VIRGINIA...
WAKEFIELD MUNI ARPT 7.45
RICHMOND 4.68
FORT EUSTIS/FELKER 3.88
NORFOLK 3.87
ASHLAND 3.78
LYNCHBURG 3.54
DANVILLE 3.40
WASHINGTON DULLES 2.87
ROANOKE 2.60
LANGLEY AFB/HAMPTON 2.25
CHARLOTTESVILLE 2.22
WASHINGTON NATIONAL 2.08


THE AREA OF LOW PRESSURE OVER THE MID-ATLANTIC WILL TRACK
NORTHWARD OVER THE INTERIOR NORTHEAST ON THURSDAY. THE HEAVIEST
RAINS ARE EXPECTED TO FOCUS NEAR THE LOW PRESSURE TRACK AND ALONG
THE SURFACE BOUNDARY AS DEEP MOISTURE FROM THE TROPICS SURGES
NORTHWARD. THE SECONDARY LOW IS EXPECTED TO MOVE NORTHWARD INTO
NORTH CAROLINA BY THURSDAY EVENING...BRINGING AN ADDITIONAL ROUND
OF PRECIPITATION ACROSS THE REGION. WIDESPREAD RAINFALL TOTALS OF
THREE TO SIX INCHES ARE EXPECTED ACROSS THE MID-ATLANTIC REGION
AND NORTHEAST THROUGH FRIDAY EVENING...WITH LOCAL AMOUNTS GREATER
THAN TEN INCHES POSSIBLE. WINDS OF 30 TO 40 MPH AND GUSTS OVER 50
MPH WILL ALSO BE POSSIBLE LATE THURSDAY INTO FRIDAY ACROSS
SOUTHEASTERN NEW ENGLAND AS THE MAIN SURFACE LOW MOVES CLOSER TO
THE NORTHEAST.

THE NEXT STORM SUMMARY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL
PREDICTION CENTER AT 500 PM EDT. PLEASE REFER TO YOUR LOCAL
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS
EVENT.

ZIEGENFELDER



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Last Updated: 1043 AM EDT THU SEP 30 2010

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting largeeyes:
wxhatt, I think that might be one of the series of low pressure systems that are riding along the front, not ex-nicole.


The GFS shows whatever low about to slam wilm. about the same time as this one though, with no other low below it on that map...

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30%
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NEXRAD Radar
Wilmington, Storm Relative Mean Radial Velocity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 124 NMI

Be aware in N. Carolina that the next inbound round is showing a LOTTA rotation within it.



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Good Afternoon...
Very dark sky, strong gusty winds from the south, intermittent heavy rain, lightening, thunder, etc etc going on here in Trinidad.
Pressure 1008 and falling.

Going to be an interesting 24 hours....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24023
Quoting CosmicEvents:
That's what JB is hoping for with the hype!
.
.
The reality is bad enough. No need to go about creating hurricanes from rain/flooding events.


Unaccuweather absolutely slays me with their overhype machine

never trust "for-profit" forecasters
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wouldn't mind a Floyd type situation curve at last minute....
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AL, 97, 2010093012, , BEST, 0, 120N, 485W, 25, 1009, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,

Low level convergence getting established on the N SW and SE quadrants:



Upper level divergence is there thanks to the ULL to the NW of it:



Given that there's also a well established upper level high on top of 97L don't see why the chances for additional development could be hampered and I would expect a 50% to 60% chance of development in the next 48HRs:

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Quoting wxhatt:


Thank you for that info. It's hard to believe that the NHC would let that slip by though...


This is where I question what the true purpose of the NHC's watches\warnings\classications are...

Is it to merely throw out classifications based on hard thresholds, IE: this system has 42 mph sustained winds, so it's a TS.

Or is the purpose to adequately inform the people in a storm's path of the type on conditions that they'll encounter?

I would like to think the latter is more in the forefront.

Does anyone know? I guess this could get kinda political.
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GFS definitely saw it though, showing landfall at around 18z (2pm local).

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wxhatt, I think that might be one of the series of low pressure systems that are riding along the front, not ex-nicole.
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Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25345
Levi great update gonna wait n see i guess I hope the pattern changes and allows this invest to continue west and not get in the straits and recurve north. Would love a day off for free so if NHC puts up warning and it just misses S.Fl. we win....
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Quoting kanc2001:


+1 million
That's what JB is hoping for with the hype!
.
.
The reality is bad enough. No need to go about creating hurricanes from rain/flooding events.
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Is there an ASCAT of ex-nicole recently?
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223. srada
Quoting Patrap:


I am really concerned about the red big blob heading to wilmington in Patrap's image..that looks very threatening!!
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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.