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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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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Site broke again.
Member Since: October 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 314
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!
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Where can I get one of those lol!
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
610. 7544
ok still a ts check
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And I must say,

Lots of folks showed up tonight. We know that richard is gonna hit the U.S. ? is how strong. A few clouds, or a cat 3. However it was enough to bring everyone back. Even though no one wants a hurricane!
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
Richard is becoming a dog with lots of fleas.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
URNT12 KNHC 220122
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL192010
A. 22/01:07:20Z
B. 15 deg 52 min N
080 deg 30 min W
C. NA
D. 35 kt
E. 046 deg 47 nm
F. 110 deg 29 kt
G. 046 deg 87 nm
H. EXTRAP 1006 mb
I. 22 C / 426 m
J. 24 C / 425 m
K. 23 C / NA
L. NA
M. NA
N. 1345 / 1
O. 0.02 / 0.5 nm
P. AF301 0419A RICHARD OB 11
MAX FL WIND 31 KT SE QUAD 00:04:30Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM BELOW 1500 FT


15.8?

Maybe Richie is heading for the EPAC lol.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
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)
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: October 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 314
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
URNT12 KNHC 220122
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL192010
A. 22/01:07:20Z
B. 15 deg 52 min N
080 deg 30 min W
C. NA
D. 35 kt
E. 046 deg 47 nm
F. 110 deg 29 kt
G. 046 deg 87 nm
H. EXTRAP 1006 mb
I. 22 C / 426 m
J. 24 C / 425 m
K. 23 C / NA
L. NA
M. NA
N. 1345 / 1
O. 0.02 / 0.5 nm
P. AF301 0419A RICHARD OB 11
MAX FL WIND 31 KT SE QUAD 00:04:30Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM BELOW 1500 FT
The important line from that is part D. Still a TS.
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URNT12 KNHC 220122
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL192010
A. 22/01:07:20Z
B. 15 deg 52 min N
080 deg 30 min W
C. NA
D. 35 kt
E. 046 deg 47 nm
F. 110 deg 29 kt
G. 046 deg 87 nm
H. EXTRAP 1006 mb
I. 22 C / 426 m
J. 24 C / 425 m
K. 23 C / NA
L. NA
M. NA
N. 1345 / 1
O. 0.02 / 0.5 nm
P. AF301 0419A RICHARD OB 11
MAX FL WIND 31 KT SE QUAD 00:04:30Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM BELOW 1500 FT
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8421
Keep watching the skies....

Quoting weatherlover94:
not much more to say i guess besides wait and see...weatherlover94 signing off for the night talk to you all Saturday morning
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
I don't think anybody with any sense is writing this cyclone off or saying it's dead. But, face facts...the satellite presentation looks poor...the NHC can't even find the center and neither can I for sure. Can you? It doesn't look at the moment like there's going to be any firing of convection...heck, at 11 the NHC may even downgrade to TD, barely at that. Maybe tomorrow as the synoptics change we'll see a stronger cyclone, we probably will. But there's no reason that I can see besides blind optimism to be optimistic tonite.


Exactly what I was saying. Though I do think that even if it weakened into a TD, the environment looks as tho it should improve enough to allow strengthening late tomorrow and Saturday.
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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.


Wow Ike,

You got shi+ on and praised in the same quote!!!!!!!!!
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
Quoting jjjerry1:
latest models took the wind out of a lot of peoples sails


That is because so many make the mistake of putting too much stock in the models to begin with.

Never underestimate the power of visual stimuli, especially when it is electronically-assisted. No matter how much caution you try to bring to the table, when the human mind sees the image of an illustration or animation of a major hurricane plowing into a populated region and the words "computer model" are attached to it, it sets off all kinds of alarm bells within the mind.

"This is it, people! Just look at that, just look at it!"
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2PM Tuesday.... what will the models forecast???

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597. IKE
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
The East Atlantic may not be completely through for the year, by the look of things. SW Europe might actually get a landfall from the system forming out there, and more may follow...
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Quoting reedzone:


I didn't say it looked healthy, it's lopsided with waning convection, yet convection is finally popping up around the center, this is a sign of things to come tonight. People are being foolish and immature in writing this off, that's what I was saying.


True.
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Quoting reedzone:


I didn't say it looked healthy, it's lopsided with waning convection, yet convection is finally popping up around the center, this is a sign of things to come tonight. People are being foolish and immature in writing this off, that's what I was saying.
I don't think anybody with any sense is writing this cyclone off or saying it's dead. But, face facts...the satellite presentation looks poor...the NHC can't even find the center and neither can I for sure. Can you? It doesn't look at the moment like there's going to be any firing of convection...heck, at 11 the NHC may even downgrade to TD, barely at that. Maybe tomorrow as the synoptics change we'll see a stronger cyclone, we probably will. But there's no reason that I can see besides blind optimism to be optimistic tonite.
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I remember Alberto in 2006 was exposed with waning convection, the next morning, Hurricane warnings were up as it strengthened to a strong Tropical Storm. It can happen, storms can make a turn around in just hours. I'm expecting Richard to become better organized by morning, a 50-60 mph. Not ruling out a 70 mph. Storm.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7416
Quoting 7544:
could get downgraded at 11pm then he will build up again at dmax maybe but the just might keep him at min, ts imo
Yes, a downgrade is a distinct possibility.
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not much more to say i guess besides wait and see...weatherlover94 signing off for the night talk to you all Saturday morning
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589. 7544
9ol looking better but is it going south too lol looks like it
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


And earlier today they were in agreement on a weaker ridge and stronger trough and trending right.

UAD (Upper Air Data) Flights start tomorrow. Hopefully they can tame these models.
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.
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Based on the latest wind shift and the last vortex message location: Richard has just drifted a couple of miles towards the south.
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583. 7544
could get downgraded at 11pm then he will build up again at dmax maybe but the just might keep him at min, ts imo
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I think Richard is becoming less organized due to the dry air surrounding it on the North and West. Don't expect any rapid intensification.
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Quoting SouthDadeFish:
In my opinion the computer models look like the finally have a good handle on Richard. They all came into much better agreement, with a smaller spread. They forecast that there will be a large ridge over FL keeping Richard west to WNW.


And earlier today they were in agreement on a weaker ridge and stronger trough and trending right.

UAD (Upper Air Data) Flights start tomorrow. Hopefully they can tame these models.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
I don't see anything wrong with making an observation. It's not like I said, "That's it. based on its current satellite appearance, Richard is done for. Nothing to see here."

Just doesn't look good now to me. If I wake up in the morning and it looks healthy I will come right back here and say "Damn, Richard looks like he's reall firing up this morning!" or some other variation.
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In my opinion the computer models look like the finally have a good handle on Richard. They all came into much better agreement, with a smaller spread. They forecast that there will be a large ridge over FL keeping Richard west to WNW.
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Quoting ParanoidAndroid:


You can't tell me it looks healthy right now. I agree that it should survive whatever it's going through now and eventually strengthen when the environment gets a bit more conducive. But it does look like its having a tough time right now.


I didn't say it looked healthy, it's lopsided with waning convection, yet convection is finally popping up around the center, this is a sign of things to come tonight. People are being foolish and immature in writing this off, that's what I was saying.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7416
577. IKE
15.9N and 80.5W...1006.6 mb
(~ 29.72 inHg)
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Shear is only 5-10 knots over the center of Richard. Dry air is what caused the recent collapse in convection, however this dry air is retreating NW as the trough lifts out. Give it time.
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Quoting RadarRich:
Just a thought...
Richard may be losing its short term chance of intensifying at this time because of upwelling.
TS Richard is aprox. at 16.0N/80.5W and at 5AM this morning he was at aprox. 17.0N/80.7W. 16 hours in the same area can cause major upwelling of the ocean's heat content, or eventually lack of.
As the surface water continues to cool, the storm's energy source is diminished. The longer duration of a storm over a particular region results in very high seas for a prolonged period, which enables even colder water to get upwelled to the surface.
This should change though if and when he starts to move West, JMO, Rich



And a valid point as well. However, given the lack of organization, I think it would take much longer than a Formidable TS or Hurricane.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
An adjustment towards the left will likely be needed at 11p.m proceeded by an adjustment towards the right at 5a.m. Lol, models really having a tough time on the future forecast. For the time being I'm linear towards my usual preference...the TVCN, however, that will likely change.

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That's been his act all season....I am hoping we can get some badly needed rain from this system here in Florida. Tropical Systems are a way of life in Florida..they bring beneficial rains...

Quoting jrweatherman:


IKE is being his normal self - the biggest downcaster on this blog. He has even admitted that he is very good at it. Look at his most recent posts. He linked the GFDL and HWRF. Why, because they shifted south away from Florida. He didn't post those models earlier. Now he wants to downgrade Richard.
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Just a thought...
Richard may be losing its short term chance of intensifying at this time because of upwelling.
TS Richard is aprox. at 16.0N/80.5W and at 5AM this morning he was at aprox. 17.0N/80.7W. 16 hours in the same area can cause major upwelling of the ocean's heat content, or eventually lack of.
As the surface water continues to cool, the storm's energy source is diminished. The longer duration of a storm over a particular region results in very high seas for a prolonged period, which enables even colder water to get upwelled to the surface.
This should change though if and when he starts to move West, JMO, Rich

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Quoting reedzone:
I guess Richard is dying right?? You need to understand that we are in DMIN and also notice a nice convective pop up storm forming west of the LLC. Tonight, this will probably organize into a strong Tropical Storm. Everytime you see a storm look like this in favorable conditions means it is just undergoing organization, it takes time. I expect this to ramp up with convection forming around the center late tonight.


You can't tell me it looks healthy right now. I agree that it should survive whatever it's going through now and eventually strengthen when the environment gets a bit more conducive. But it does look like its having a tough time right now.
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Quoting charlottefl:

It's funny to watch some of the comments on here.A lot of posters go from one extreme to the other. I think it's important to realize, models will waffle. Storms will look strong and then they may in the next breath look weak. There are a million different changes and possibilities when it comes to forecast the track, strength, and impacts of a tropical system. I think that's why the NHC takes the stance they do on their forecasts. Consensus with small changes when needed. It's not as dizzying as trying to follow every model run, or every burst (or lack thereof) of convection. In reality the constant that smoothes out all of these imperfections is time. What will Richard do?, well for me I'll just wait and see :)



Sorry guys accidental double post.
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As others have pointed out, there seems to be an abnormal amount of contaminated data tonight.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
568. 7544
wow models change again still early in the game they will change back to ne sit watch and wait again .
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It's funny to watch some of the comments on here.A lot of posters go from one extreme to the other. I think it's important to realize, models will waffle. Storms will look strong and then they may in the next breath look weak. There are a million different changes and possibilities when it comes to forecast the track, strength, and impacts of a tropical system. I think that's why the NHC takes the stance they do on their forecasts. Consensus with small changes when needed. It's not as dizzying as trying to follow every model run, or every burst (or lack thereof) of convection. In reality the constant that smoothes out all of these imperfections is time. What will Richard do, well for me I'll just wait and see :)
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maximum winds now 48.3 MPH also some 41 and 43's recorded.
Member Since: October 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 314
Quoting RadarRich:
Just watching the TWC. Updating the future of Richard and they are forcasting he will be heading into the Yucatan peninsula, and will be diminishing in stength, but, also mentioning that we can't rule out a threat to the US down the line sometime next (mid)week, but not anything of substantial consequences, hmmm. Basically, saying, this will not be a CONUS threat at this time..
Surprised that they are that bold in that forcast this early in the game, oh well...


This afternoon they were saying the complete opposite, lol. They're swingers just like the models are.

These large swings, let me rephrase that, HUGE swings in the models highlights that they still don't have a clue. Lack of run to run consistency is increasing.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259

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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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