Tropical Storm Richard slowly intensifying

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:31 PM GMT on October 21, 2010

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Tropical Storm Richard is here, the seventeenth named storm of this very busy 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. Richard's formation puts 2010 in 6th place for the greatest number of named storms in the Atlantic since record keeping began in 1851. Only 2005 (28 named storms), 1933 (21 named storms), 1995 (19 named storms), 1887 (19 named storms), and 1969 (18 named storms) had more.

We won't have another hurricane hunter aircraft in Richard until 8pm tonight, so we will have to rely on satellite intensity estimates until then. The closest buoy to Richard is NOAA buoy 42057, which is on Richard's weak side about 100 miles from the heaviest thunderstorms. Winds at the buoy were just 18 mph, gusting to 22 mph, at 2:43pm EDT this afternoon. Recent satellite imagery shows that Richard is steadily organizing, with several curved spiral bands forming on the storm's south and east sides. The storm is bringing very heavy rain to Jamaica. Water vapor satellite loops show considerable dry air to the west and north of Richard, and the southwesterly upper-level winds over the storm are bringing some of this dry into the core of the storm, keeping all the heavy thunderstorm development confined to the east side of the center. The waters beneath Richard are very warm, 29°C, and Richard will begin taking advantage of these warm waters now that the shear is falling.


Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of Richard.

Intensity forecast for Richard
The latest SHIPS model forecast predicts that wind shear over the Western Caribbean will remain in the low range, 5 - 10 knots, through Monday morning. As the storm moves westwards on Friday, it will position itself beneath an upper-level high pressure system, which will aid the storm's upper-level outflow. With water temperatures a very warm 29°C and warm waters extending to great depth, Richard should be able to attain at least Category 1 hurricane strength by Saturday. NHC is currently giving Richard a 11% chance of becoming a major Category 3+ hurricane. I believe the odds are higher, near 30%. The main inhibiting factor for intensification will be interaction with the north coast of Honduras, and the possibility of the dry air to the west of Richard getting wrapped into the core of the storm while it is trying to organize. A band of very strong upper-level winds associated with the jet stream will be over the Gulf of Mexico early next week, so it is likely that if Richard crosses into the Gulf of Mexico, the storm will steadily weaken.

Track forecast for Richard
The latest set of 8am EDT (12Z) model runs are similar to the previous set of runs, and don't help illuminate what the long-range fate of Richard might be. Steering currents are weak in the Western Caribbean, and will remain weak through Friday morning, resulting in a slow, erratic movement for Richard. Most of the models favor a southerly, then southwesterly path at 5mph or less over the next two days. This may bring the center of Richard very close to or over the northern coast of Honduras on Saturday or Sunday, as predicted by the GFS, UKMET, and NOGAPS models. These models then show Richard dissipating over Central America. A much different solution is offered by the ECMWF, HWRF and GFDL models, which foresee less of a southerly motion for Richard over the next two days, resulting in the storm missing the north coast of Honduras by one hundred miles or more. These models take Richard to the northwest across the tip of the Yucatan (GFDL and ECMWF models) or western tip of Cuba (HWRF model) on Sunday or Monday. The HWRF and GFDL models predict Richard will be a threat to the west coast of Florida on Tuesday. NHC takes the reasonable approach of predicting a path somewhere between these two extremes, with Richard crossing the Yucatan between Cozumel and the Belize/Mexico border. Residents of northern Honduras should anticipate the possibility that Richard will pass very close or strike Honduras on Saturday or Sunday. Very heavy rains of 4 - 8 inches are possible over the the weekend in coastal Honduras beginning Friday night or Saturday morning. The 11am EDT NHC wind probability forecast is giving the highest odds for tropical storm-force winds at Guanaja in Honduras, at 46%. Cozumel, Mexico is given a 42% chance, Key West a 6% chance, and Ft. Myers a 3% chance.

Invest 90L
A tropical wave that emerged off the coast of Africa yesterday (Invest 90L) has a modest amount of spin and some growing thunderstorm activity. Wind shear is a moderate 5 - 15 knots, and the waters are still warm enough to support tropical storm formation. NHC is giving the system a 30% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Saturday. By Sunday, 90L will encounter high wind shear of 20 - 40 knots, discouraging further development. This system is not a threat to cross the Atlantic and affect the Lesser Antilles or North America.

Typhoon Megi takes aim at China
Typhoon Megi continues it slow march towards China at 5 mph, and is expected to make landfall Saturday morning on the Chinese coast opposite from Taiwan. Megi has maintained strength as a Category 3 typhoon with 115 mph winds today, despite rising wind shear (now a moderate 10 - 20 knots) and cooling sea surface temperatures. Megi is moving slow enough and is large and powerful enough that it is probably upwelling cold water from the depths to the surface faster than it can move away, and these upwelling cool waters are keeping Megi from being a stronger storm. Wind shear will increase dramatically to 20 - 40 knots on Friday as the typhoon makes its final approach to the coast of China, and this shear should be high enough to reduce Megi to Category 1 status before landfall. Megi will still be a very large and powerful storm capable of causing considerable wind and storm surge damage even at Category 1 strength. However, heavy rain will likely be the storm's main threat, since it is moving slowly and is a huge storm. I expect Megi will be a billion-dollar disaster for China, mostly due to flooding from heavy rains. The outer rain bands of Megi are already affecting the coast of China near Taiwan, as seen on China's radar composite, as well as Taiwan radar.

The clean-up continues in the Philippines from Megi, which hit northern Luzon island on Monday morning at 3:30 UTC as a Category 5 super typhoon with sustained winds of 165 mph and a central pressure of 914 mb. Severe damage was done to Isabela Province in northern Luzon, and 19 deaths are being blamed on the storm. Considering most major typhoon that have hit the Philippine in recent year have killed hundreds and sometimes thousands of people, the low death toll from Megi is a testament to the excellent efforts by officials in the Philippines to get people out of harm's way in advance of the storm.


Figure 2. Rainfall rate for Megi as observed by the TRMM polar orbiting satellite at 10:01am EDT October 21, 2010. Heavy rains in excess of 0.8" per hour (yellow colors) were present in Megi's eyewall and spiral bands. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Next update
I'll have an update Friday morning.

Jeff Masters

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665. IKE
Quoting shikori:
is the recon site working for anyone?


It is now....

Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 22nd day of the month at 01:22Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 301)
Storm Number & Year: 19L in 2010
Storm Name: Richard (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 4
Observation Number: 11
A. Time of Center Fix: 22nd day of the month at 1:07:20Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 15°52'N 80°30'W (15.8667N 80.5W) (View map)
B. Center Fix Location: 245 miles (394 km) to the SSE (166°) from George Town, Cayman Islands (GBR).
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: Not Available
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 35kts (~ 40.3mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 47 nautical miles (54 statute miles) to the NE (46°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 110° at 29kts (From the ESE at ~ 33.4mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 87 nautical miles (100 statute miles) to the NE (46°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 1006mb (29.71 inHg) - Extrapolated
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 22°C (72°F) at a pressure alt. of 426m (1,398ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 24°C (75°F) at a pressure alt. of 425m (1,394ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 23°C (73°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 1,500 feet
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 0.5 nautical miles
Remarks Section:
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 31kts (~ 35.7mph) in the southeast quadrant at 0:04:30Z
Sea Level Pressure Extrapolation From: Below 1,500 feet
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Notice the moisture field spreading west.... Conditions slowly getting there. Link
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Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25369
Quoting IKE:


Exactly! Works both ways.


I have said this before on this blog. I am in construction, and after Katrina I made money. However, money don't keep you from being depressed by watching the people you are working for trying to salvage their lives. I guess I need to take a lesson from wall street. Smile while you take everything someone has!
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Richard remains a TS..
AL, 19, 2010102200, , BEST, 0, 160N, 805W, 35, 1007, TS


Yep, I think the NHC knows it's going to ramp up later on tonight. Anticyclone right over it, it's just going through a process before the show starts.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
And I'm on the "
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Richard remains a TS..
AL, 19, 2010102200, , BEST, 0, 160N, 805W, 35, 1007, TS
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


I was actually talking about the Recon Flight.

As I said below, nor am I wishcasting, I am currently in the grey area as one model run doesn't make up an agreement. Another 2 like that and I'll bite.


And those glitches were mentioned in the NHC discussions as possible and almost prompted a track change so, take it for what it is and move on...
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Quoting IKE:


LMAO!

Don't get pissed at me because Florida looks spared!

You folks need to mellow out. It's just the weather.
Quoting NOLALawyer:


Ike just enjoys taking a dump in the collective punchbowl. The only reason he isn't labeled a troll is because his methods are subtle. He doesn't make bold statements intended to rile people up, he just posts naked swirls, models full of empty oceans and any model or track that shifts away from the U.S. He is actually more effective with his techniques than a rabid troll because he is the ultimate downer.


You are dead on about him. He is very subtle in his techniques in the way he posts. Like it was said earlier, he has admitted in the that he is a pro at it.
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


One run doesn't make up an agreement, IMO. A couple more runs like that then yeah, I'll bite. Currently I am on the models don't have a clue side.
You are correct, in one run doesn't mean anything. There is still a lot up in the air. However, its the best they have been yet is what I meant to say. I still think a lot depends on the next two days and how strong he gets.
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654. IKE
Quoting reedzone:


awe come on now IKE, you know the drill, once the models shift, they'll be back out in full force ;)


Exactly! Works both ways.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting FLWaterFront:


The early model runs of the HWRF and GFDL which showed a Cat 4 or Cat 5 storm smashing into the West Coast of Florida were never at all realistic, as I and others mentioned repeatedly.

Believe it or not, we were not (and still are not) downcasting, just trying to point out that there were obvious glitches in those early model runs.

This year is not 2005 when Wilma came out to play. It is also not 1921. Every year is different and you have to work with what you have at the moment, not climatology only or history mainly or whatever.

Believe it or not, many computer models have hidden biases buried within the data they are working with at any given time. Until enough real time data is collected and then entered into the programs, the model runs may lock onto something like last month's or last year's sea surface temperature data, or upper level wind patterns from three weeks earlier. You never know what it is.


I was actually talking about the Recon Flight.

As I said below, nor am I wishcasting, I am currently in the grey area as one model run doesn't make up an agreement. Another 2 like that and I'll bite.
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


One run doesn't make up an agreement, IMO. A couple more runs like that then yeah, I'll bite. Currently I am on the models don't have a clue side.
And until Richard is better organized they won't have a clue.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8268
Quoting IKE:


Except for a select few that were promoting a Florida hit....that have not-so-surprisingly vanished.


awe come on now IKE, you know the drill, once the models shift, they'll be back out in full force ;)
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Alright, I'll go out here and say it would be nice if Richard hit Florida as a slow moving TS.. my lawn has lost all color, while its nice not to have to mow 24/7.. I don't want a repeat of the last winter we had, sink holes erupted everywhere. Couldn't get on I-4 without having to leave 20 minutes earlier. Plus, it would be nice to clear out all the pollen and stuff in the air for a few days.



I will say thats fair and balanced! We could use it too. I still think alot here think tropical as doom.
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
Quoting doorman79:


You have to admit, when the models shifted left the blog lit up like a Christmas tree.


I'm going to have you come put the lights on my tree this year. ;)
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Quoting doorman79:


You have to admit, when the models shifted left the blog lit up like a Christmas tree.


Your going to get that regardless of whatever way the models shift. Left, right, up, down, west, sideways with a slight zig-zag, ect.
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647. IKE
Quoting doorman79:


You have to admit, when the models shifted left the blog lit up like a Christmas tree.


Except for a select few that were promoting a Florida hit....that have not-so-surprisingly vanished.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting SouthDadeFish:
They never were in agreement with that solution. The GFS, NOGAPS, UKMET and others favored a southern solution. Now they all favor a more southern solution.


One run doesn't make up an agreement, IMO. A couple more runs like that then yeah, I'll bite. Currently I am on the models don't have a clue side.
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Link

this one aint good for SFL
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Quoting doorman79:


I really do think Richard will affect us in the U.S.A I just don't think it will be much more than a rain maker. I really think alot of people think "tropical" and think Ivan, Katrina, Wilma and others.


Alright, I'll go out here and say it would be nice if Richard hit Florida as a slow moving TS.. my lawn has lost all color, while its nice not to have to mow 24/7.. I don't want a repeat of the last winter we had, sink holes erupted everywhere. Couldn't get on I-4 without having to leave 20 minutes earlier. Plus, it would be nice to clear out all the pollen and stuff in the air for a few days.

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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Think we should all chill out. I see no evidence of downcasting or wishcasting, or for that matter people wishing for storms to hit Florida. This is a weather blog, I'd safely assume that people would blog on here because they are passionate about weather. I see some impatience a little, but that is to be expected. Richard isn't well organized, period. No one can change that, only well.. Richard can.


You have to admit, when the models shifted left the blog lit up like a Christmas tree.
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
642. JLPR2
Quoting reedzone:
Ughh everyone, Richard is just re-organizing!

The convection to the south should dissipate and notice how well the structure is after that convection dies off? Should take off after Midnight.



D-max should help it out.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8500
Link

hmm cat 3 force winds check it out
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Think we should all chill out. I see no evidence of downcasting or wishcasting, or for that matter people wishing for storms to hit Florida. This is a weather blog, I'd safely assume that people would blog on here because they are passionate about weather. I see some impatience a little, but that is to be expected. Richard isn't well organized, period. No one can change that, only well.. Richard can.


It's a process, also to note, it's DMIN. People need to give it time as it's re-organizing a better structured core. I expect this to start ramping up by 2-3 am., around there.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
Makes me wonder if Kman isn't on the beach pulling a Lt. Dan lol!
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
Found this kind of interesting from CaribWx discussion last night 11 PM and seems like exactly what is occuring.


TRACK:
--Most models show little net motion thru early Thu21, with a slow anti-cyclonic (clockwise) loop to the
E-then-SE-then-S-then-SW...followed by acceleration generally W-ward into the S Part of NW Caribbean (just N of Honduras)
Fri22-Sat23...and a gradual turn NW, with Belize landfall Sun24.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8268
Link

hes getting stronger and he has a big wind swath
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Quoting IKE:


LMAO!

Don't get pissed at me because Florida looks spared!

You folks need to mellow out. It's just the weather.


Think we should all chill out. I see no evidence of downcasting or wishcasting, or for that matter people wishing for storms to hit Florida. This is a weather blog, I'd safely assume that people would blog on here because they are passionate about weather. I see some impatience a little, but that is to be expected. Richard isn't well organized, period. No one can change that, only well.. Richard can.
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Quoting doorman79:


I really do think Richard will affect us in the U.S.A I just don't think it will be much more than a rain maker. I really think alot of people think "tropical" and think Ivan, Katrina, Wilma and others.


And I must say, Im only using USA because everyone showed up! Poor folks in Mexico, Beliz among others are gonna be the ones pooped on.
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
Ughh everyone, Richard is just re-organizing!

The convection to the south should dissipate and notice how well the structure is after that convection dies off? Should take off after Midnight.

Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
Link

still undecided
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A vortex message saying 15.5N?
Could be, they're in the plane, not me.
That's much further south than it was forecasted to go at any point. I'd have to say Richard is taking the southern solution at the moment. Doing the swan dive into Honduras. We'll see.
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Ike, it's too early to say anything...also south Florida is a whole different ball of wac xompared to N. Florida where you are..not just in geography but the people. 2 different states and states of mind. S. Florida most likely will be afftected in some way and it would be a blessing to get the rain..so my fingers are crossed...it's not like we are all going to die


Quoting FLdewey:

They are fun to watch Ike... keep up the good work.

Let the Florida frenzy continue.
Member Since: September 7, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 703
Quoting JLPR2:
Firing convection basically over the center now...


looks better than Richard...
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Quoting IKE:


He's probably ticked off because his models took a left on him.


I really do think Richard will affect us in the U.S.A I just don't think it will be much more than a rain maker. I really think alot of people think "tropical" and think Ivan, Katrina, Wilma and others.
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
As others have pointed out, there seems to be an abnormal amount of contaminated data tonight.


The early model runs of the HWRF and GFDL which showed a Cat 4 or Cat 5 storm smashing into the West Coast of Florida were never at all realistic, as I and others mentioned repeatedly.

Believe it or not, we were not (and still are not) downcasting, just trying to point out that there were obvious glitches in those early model runs.

This year is not 2005 when Wilma came out to play. It is also not 1921. Every year is different and you have to work with what you have at the moment, not climatology only or history mainly or whatever.

Believe it or not, many computer models have hidden biases buried within the data they are working with at any given time. Until enough real time data is collected and then entered into the programs, the model runs may lock onto something like last month's or last year's sea surface temperature data, or upper level wind patterns from three weeks earlier. You never know what it is.
Member Since: October 15, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 715
626. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #8
SEVERE CYCLONIC STORM GIRI (BOB04-2010)
2:30 AM IST October 22 2010
==================================

At 21:00 PM UTC, Cyclonic storm over east central and adjoining northeast Bay of Bengal moved northeast and intensified into a severe cyclonic storm. Severe Cyclonic Storm Giri lays centered over the same area centered near 18.5N 92.5E, or about 200 kms south southwest of Sittwe, 280 kms south southeast of Teknaf, and 620 kms southeast of Digha

3 minute sustained winds near the center is 55 knots with gusts of 65 knots. The central pressure of the system is 986 hPa. The state of the sea is very high around the system's center.

Satellite imagery indicate banding pattern with further organization. The Dvorak intensity of the system is T3.5. Associated broken intense to very intense convection is seen over east central and adjoining northeast Bay of Bengal between 15.5N to 20.0N and east of 90.0E. The lowest cloud top temperature due to convection is around -70 to -80C.

Storm surge at the time of landfall is expected to be 2-3 meters.

The current environmental conditions and numerical weather prediction models suggest that the system would intensify further. It would move northeast and cross north Myanmar and adjoining Bangladesh coasts between Teknaf, Bangladesh and Kyaukpyu, Mynamar between 1200 and 1800 PM UTC today.
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625. 7544
models will change again wait watch and see
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624. JLPR2
Firing convection basically over the center now...
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8500
620. IKE
Quoting doorman79:


Have you ever lost everything you own because of weather?


He's probably ticked off because his models took a left on him.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
619. IKE
Quoting portcharlotte:
Funny, he amuses me...he will try to dig up any kind of map he can to support a non U.S. hit! He also is the king of "copy and paste".
He seems to be terribly scared of hurricanes. Heck, we are all here because of storms..why would we be interested in weather if it was fair everyday. I don;t see why he stays on except to find a way to conflict with storm watchers..just my opinion..




LMAO!

Don't get pissed at me because Florida looks spared!

You folks need to mellow out. It's just the weather.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting CybrTeddy:
If Richard dies I'd be quite surprised.

Recon showed a closed low, pressures in the 1006 mb range.

Just give it time people, we've been slapped in the face so much in the past 5 years I thought we'd know by now!


Nice pop up convection starting to take place, Richard will probably put on a show tonight and become a strong Tropical Storm by morning. That's my thinking..
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
Quoting shikori:
Site broke again.


SI posts the vortex from NHC and everyone runs to Trop Atl to look, probably crashed it again, lol.
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Quoting portcharlotte:
Funny, he amuses me...he will try to dig up any kind of map he can to support a non U.S. hit! He also is the king of "copy and paste".
He seems to be terribly scared of hurricanes. Heck, we are all here because of storms..why would we be interested in weather if it was fair everyday. I don;t see why he stays on except to find a way to conflict with storm watchers..just my opinion..




Have you ever lost everything you own because of weather?
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
Up to this moment, this is not happening...



SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS HAVE INCREASED IN ASSOCIATION WITH A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM LOCATED ABOUT 1200 MILES EAST OF THE LESSER ANTILLES. STRONG UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE FORECAST TO INHIBIT THE DEVELOPMENT OF THIS DISTURBANCE...AND THERE IS A LOW CHANCE...10 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE AS IT MOVES SLOWLY WESTWARD DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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