Tomas gradually strengthening; 14 dead in St. Lucia from the storm

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:58 PM GMT on November 02, 2010

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The islands of St. Lucia, Barbados, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines continue to assess damage and clean up after Hurricane Tomas pounded the Lesser Antilles as a strengthening Category 1 hurricane with 90 - 95 mph winds on Saturday. St. Lucia was hardest hit, with fourteen people dead, many more missing, and damage estimated at $100 million--about 10% of the nation's GDP. Damage on neighboring St. Vincent was estimated at $62 million, which is 4% of that nation's GDP. The storm damaged 1,200 houses, and the northern half of the island, where most of the crops are, was badly hit, with no banana trees left standing and the plantain crop wiped out. Banana production employs 60% of the workforce on St. Vincent, and accounts for more than 50% of their exports. Also hard-hit was Barbados, where damage estimates are at $55 million, 1.5% of the nation's GDP. Tomas may be the most damaging storm to affect the island since Hurricane Janet of 1955. The havoc wreaked by Tomas in the Lesser Antilles makes is likely that the name Tomas will be retired from the list of active hurricane names in the Atlantic.


Figure 1. Torrential rains from Tomas triggered massive flooding on St. Lucia that destroyed several bridges and severely damaged roads. Image credit: St. Lucia Star.

Tomas gradually strengthening
Satellite loops of Tomas show a considerably more organized storm than yesterday, with a modest but increasing amount of heavy thunderstorm activity. However, low-level spiral bands are limited, and upper-level outflow is weak, and Tomas is not in danger of building an eyewall today. Curacao radar shows that the echoes from Tomas are disorganized, with no spiral banding apparent. Wind shear has declined to a moderate 10 -15 knots and the atmosphere in the Caribbean has moistened over the past day, allowing Tomas to re-organize. A hurricane hunter aircraft is on its way to Tomas this morning, and will have a better estimate of the storm's strength by early this afternoon.


Figure 2. Curacao radar at 10:07am EDT on Tuesday, November 2, 2010, showed a large area of rain associated with Tomas over the central Caribbean, but these echoes were poorly organized.

Track forecast for Tomas
The ridge of high pressure pushing Tomas to the west has weakened, allowing Tomas to slow down slightly to a forward speed of 10 mph this morning. This speed will decrease further to 5 mph tonight, as a trough of low pressure approaches the eastern U.S. and breaks down the ridge. By Wednesday, the trough to Tomas' north should be able to pull the storm to the northwest. Tomas' outer spiral bands will bring heavy rains to southwestern Haiti and eastern Jamaica beginning on Thursday night. The computer models have come into better agreement that Tomas will turn more to the north-northeast by Friday, with Haiti or Jamaica the most likely landfall locations. NHC is giving Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a 50% chance of receiving tropical storm force winds, and a 6% chance of hurricane force winds. These odds are 45% and 7%, respectively for Kingston, Jamaica, and 23% and 3% for Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

Tomas may stall
The models are increasingly suggesting the once Tomas begins moving to the north-northeast, the trough pulling the storm that direction will lift out, stranding Tomas in a region of weak steering currents. Tomas may then wander and dump heavy rains for several days, Saturday through Monday. Given recent model trends, I believe this is likely, but the exact location where Tomas might be stranded is uncertain. The NOGAPS model gives a nightmare scenario for Haiti, with Tomas remaining stationary just off the coast from Port-Au-Prince as a hurricane for many days. The UKMET stalls Tomas over the Turk and Caicos Islands, while the GFS, GFDL, and ECMWF models predict Tomas will stall several hundred miles north of Hispaniola and drift eastwards. It's reasonable to go with the model consensus and predict Tomas will pass over western Haiti and stall far enough north of the nation so that heavy rains will not linger over Hispaniola for many days. The uncertainties in the track forecast are greater than usual, though.

Intensity forecast for Tomas
Wind shear as diagnosed by the SHIPS model has dropped to the moderate range, 10 - 15 knots, and is predicted to stay low to moderate, 5 - 15 knots, for the remainder of the week. The relaxation of shear should allow Tomas to continue to re-organize over the next few days. Aiding this process will be an increasingly moist atmosphere. Dry air has decreased significantly over the past 24 hours, as seen on water vapor satellite imagery, and the models predict a very moist atmosphere will surround Tomas for the remainder of the week. With SSTs at a record warm 29.5°C and a very high ocean heat content, there is a substantial danger that Tomas will undergo a period of rapid intensification once it rebuilds its inner core and establishes an eyewall. This is not likely to happen today, but could occur as early as Wednesday night. This may give Tomas sufficient time to intensify into a major hurricane before landfall in Haiti or Jamaica, as predicted by the GFDL model. The most reasonable intensity forecast at this point is to call for a landfall on Friday at Category 2 strength, but Tomas could easily be anywhere from Category 1 to Category 3 hurricane strength on Friday. NHC is giving Tomas a 19% chance of reaching Category 3+ strength; I believe these odds are higher, 40%. With the atmosphere expected to be very moist, it is likely that Tomas will dump very heavy rains of 4 - 8 inches over much of Haiti, even if Tomas strikes as a tropical storm. Rains of this magnitude are capable of causing heavy loss of life due to extreme floods running down Haiti's deforested mountain slopes. Portlight.org is preparing to send their mobile kitchen with enough food to feed 500 people per day, if Tomas continues on its current forecast path.


Figure 3. Plot of all Category 1 and stronger hurricanes to pass within 50 miles of Barbados since reliable record keeping began in 1851. Image credit: NOAA Coastal Services Center.

Barbados hurricane history
Tomas is the strongest hurricane to affect Barbados since Category 3 Hurricane Allen of 1980, which passed just north of the island. Allen did $4 million in damage, compared to Tomas' $55 million. The deadliest hurricane in Barbados history was the Category 5 Great Hurricane of 1780, which killed approximately 4500 people on the island, and leveled every building, including the stone governor's mansion. The Great Hurricane of 1780 was also the Atlantic's deadliest hurricane of all-time, with 22,000 fatalities, mostly in the Lesser Antilles Islands.

Next update
I'll have an update Wednesday morning.

Jeff Masters

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agreed for the reasons you state...but Tomas isn't a Tropical Storm at this point no matter what the NHC calls it.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 67
756. 7544
watching the new blob west of tomas where it goes tomas should follow
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What could that spinning low coming down through Texas do if it gets over warm water? How far south is it expected to move?
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Quoting uncljbnd:
I am no meteorologist but if the HH find a tropical storm I will paint my butt blue


http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/ramsdis/online/loop_640.asp?product=tropical_ge_4km_ir4_floater_1


You might have wanted to set the bar a little higher then a TS. They are not going to down grade it unless its almost dead... they cannot afford for Haiti or Jamaica to start ignoring it.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
TropicalStormTomas's heading turned northward to (3.6degrees west of) NorthNorthWest
from it's previous heading of dueWest
TS.Tomas's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions decreased to ~5mph(~8km/h) from its previous travel speed of ~9mph(~14.5km/h)
TS.Tomas
2Nov. 03amGMT - 13.5n70.8w - 45mph_(~72.4km/h) - 1005mb - NHC.Adv.#16
2Nov. 06amGMT - 13.6n71.3w - 40knots.(~74.1km/h) - 1003mb - ATCF
2Nov. 09amGMT - 13.5n72.0w - 50mph_(~80.5km/h) - 1003mb - NHC.Adv.#17
2Nov. 12pmGMT - 13.4n72.2w - 45knots.(~83.3km/h) - 1003mb - ATCF
2Nov. 03pmGMT - 13.5n72.6w - 50mph_(~80.5km/h) - 1003mb - NHC.Adv.#18
2Nov. 06pmGMT - 13.4n74.2w - 35knots.(~64.8km/h) - 1006mb - ATCF
2Nov. 09pmGMT - 13.5n74.6w - 40mph_(~64.4km/h) - 1006mb - NHC.Adv.#19
3Nov. 12amGMT - 13.5n75.0w - 40mph_(~64.4km/h) - 1006mb - NHC.Adv.#19
3Nov. 03amGMT - 13.7n75.1w - 40mph_(~64.4km/h) - 1006mb - NHC.Adv.#20

Copy&paste 13.5n70.8w, 13.6n71.3w, 13.5n72.0w, 13.4n72.2w, 13.5n72.6w-13.4n74.2w, 13.4n74.2w-13.5n74.6w, 13.5n74.6w-13.5n75.0w, 13.5n75.0w-13.7n75.1w, adz, mbj, 13.7n75.1w-17.7n77.15w into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the headings and the distances traveled over the last 12^hours.

Using straightline projection upon the speed&heading averaged
over the 3hours spanning the last two reported positions:
~2days&13hours from now to MahoeGardens,Jamaica

^ The westernmost line-segment is the straightline projection.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
I am no meteorologist but if the HH find a tropical storm I will paint my butt blue


http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/ramsdis/online/loop_640.asp?product=tropical_ge_4km_ir4_floater_1
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 67
HH enroute....




Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting serialteg:


that front looked mean and healthy to me in fact looked like a beast... way too south (good for surfing) and unusual


Did you hear about Andy Iron's death...?? He left the island and died in Texas - Dengue I believe...
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Fire away...
Do either one of the parties realllly care about the people? Are teabaggers the answer? Does it matter who one tonight? Can we really have a democracy anymore when both parties want all the power and want the other one to be destroyed. Real Change means, giving the power back to the people and for them to serve us. You cannot legislate morality, no more than you can legislate honesty. Every one wants real change, but you should not put your faith in MAN for that. It will happen one day when a true leader of man comes to Govern.
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747. JRRP
Link
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From 11 p.m.

AN UNCERTAIN INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE IS 280/7. A CONTINUED SLOW-DOWN OF THE TROPICAL CYCLONE IS LIKELY AS RIDGING WEAKENS TO THE NORTH OF TOMAS.

A DEEP LAYER LOW ENTERING THE GULF OF MEXICO IS EXPECTED TO ACCELERATE AND TURN TOMAS TO THE NORTH AND NORTHEAST ON THURSDAY.

WHILE THE MODELS TAKE VARIOUS SPEEDS AND ROUTES TO GET THERE...THEY REMAIN FOCUSED IN THE DIRECTION OF SOUTHWESTERN HAITI.
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Quoting Chicklit:

Tomas is meandering.


Somebody please give him a compass and push him west into oblivion.

Member Since: August 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 672
Quoting Neapolitan:

Fire away...


I mailed it.. easy to write... bet its not easy to answer... unless I missed something really simple?
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
742. KYDan
Hard right turn is coming into play. I wish it were not, but the signs point out that it is. At least to me it does.



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Quoting kimoskee:
I know Tomas has been very difficult to forecast.

Is he ahead or behind schedule?

Tomas is meandering.
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740. JRRP
W OR 280 DEGREES AT 8 MPH...13 KM/HR
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I know Tomas has been very difficult to forecast.

Is he ahead or behind schedule?
Member Since: August 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 672
Quoting Orcasystems:
Who is a political wizz kid I can WU a question to?

Fire away...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13629
WATLoop

Tomas not in a hurry to go anywhere.
Waters are 30C.
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000
WTNT41 KNHC 030242
TCDAT1
TROPICAL STORM TOMAS DISCUSSION NUMBER 20
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL212010
1100 PM EDT TUE NOV 02 2010

SATELLITE IMAGES INDICATE THAT OVERALL CONVECTION HAS DECREASED
DURING THE PAST SEVERAL HOURS...THOUGH A CURVED BAND HAS BECOME A
LITTLE BETTER-DEFINED RECENTLY. MICROWAVE DATA SUGGEST THE CENTER
IS ON THE SOUTHEASTERN SIDE OF THAT BAND...AND REMNANTS OF THE OLD
MID-LEVEL CIRCULATION CAN BE SEEN NORTHWEST OF ARUBA. SATELLITE
INTENSITY ESTIMATES VARY FROM 35-55 KT...AND NO CHANGE WILL BE MADE
TO THE INITIAL WIND SPEED OF 35 KT. AN AIR FORCE HURRICANE HUNTER
WILL BE IN THE AREA IN A FEW HOURS TO CHECK ON THE STATUS OF TOMAS.

LARGE-SCALE ENVIRONMENTAL PARAMETERS APPEAR TO BE RATHER FAVORABLE
FOR FUTURE INTENSIFICATION WITH LOW SHEAR AND VERY WARM WATER FOR
THE NEXT FEW DAYS. IT IS UNCERTAIN...HOWEVER...IF TOMAS CAN TAKE
ADVANTAGE OF THESE CONDITIONS. A LOOK AT GLOBAL MODEL CROSS-
SECTIONS SHOW A TILTED VORTEX INITIALLY...WITH THE GFS/UKMET
SUGGESTING A MORE FAVORABLE VERTICAL VORTEX STRUCTURE FOR
STRENGTHENING IN A DAY OR TWO. THE ECMWF MODEL...WHICH WAS ONE
OF THE FEW MODELS THAT PREDICTED THE WEAKENING OF TOMAS IN THE
EASTERN CARIBBEAN...HAS A QUITE DIFFERENT SCENARIO WITH A GOOD DEAL
OF TILT REMAINING FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS AND ONLY A MODEST INCREASE
IN WINDS UNTIL AFTER THE TROPICAL CYCLONE LEAVES THE CARIBBEAN.
WITH SUCH DIVERGENCE IN THE GUIDANCE...THE NEW FORECAST IS ABOUT
THE SAME THE PREVIOUS ONE...A LITTLE HIGHER THAN THE MODEL
CONSENSUS.

AN UNCERTAIN INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE IS 280/7. A CONTINUED
SLOW-DOWN OF THE TROPICAL CYCLONE IS LIKELY AS RIDGING WEAKENS TO
THE NORTH OF TOMAS. A DEEP LAYER LOW ENTERING THE GULF OF MEXICO
IS EXPECTED TO ACCELERATE AND TURN TOMAS TO THE NORTH AND NORTHEAST
ON THURSDAY. WHILE THE MODELS TAKE VARIOUS SPEEDS AND ROUTES TO
GET THERE...THEY REMAIN FOCUSED IN THE DIRECTION OF SOUTHWESTERN
HAITI. THE NHC FORECAST IS ADJUSTED SLIGHTLY TO THE RIGHT OF THE
PREVIOUS FORECAST DURING THE FIRST COUPLE OF DAYS...AND GENERALLY
LIES TO THE SOUTHEAST OF THE MODEL CONSENSUS. THE HWRF AND GFDN
HAVE A RATHER DEEP AND INTENSE CIRCULATION...WHICH APPEAR TO BE
OUTLIERS AND BIASING TVCN...THE VARIABLE CONSENSUS MODEL...TOO FAR
TO THE NORTH.

REGARDLESS OF THE EXACT TRACK AND INTENSITY OF TOMAS...IT APPEARS
THAT THE TROPICAL CYCLONE WILL POSE A SIGNIFICANT THREAT OF HEAVY
RAINFALL OVER HAITI AND THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC LATER IN THE WEEK.


FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 03/0300Z 13.7N 75.1W 35 KT
12HR VT 03/1200Z 14.0N 75.9W 40 KT
24HR VT 04/0000Z 14.4N 76.5W 50 KT
36HR VT 04/1200Z 15.0N 76.6W 60 KT
48HR VT 05/0000Z 16.0N 76.0W 70 KT
72HR VT 06/0000Z 19.0N 73.9W 80 KT
96HR VT 07/0000Z 22.0N 71.5W 70 KT
120HR VT 08/0000Z 22.5N 69.5W 60 KT

$$
FORECASTER BLAKE

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I give up on challenging the NHC track. LOL Goodnight
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Quoting JLPR2:
That little turn to the east has me scratching my head, is the through not strong enough to make Tomas accelerate to the NE?


that front looked mean and healthy to me in fact looked like a beast... way too south (good for surfing) and unusual
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732. JLPR2
That little turn to the east has me scratching my head, is the through not strong enough to make Tomas accelerate to the NE?
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Looking back at this model run
GFS Forecast October 29,
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Tomas is almost out of the NHC 5pm floater screen and is going to go by those Northern tropical points.
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...TOMAS EXPECTED TO STRENGTHEN ON WEDNESDAY...


SUMMARY OF 1100 PM EDT...0300 UTC...INFORMATION
-----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...13.7N 75.1W
ABOUT 385 MI...620 KM SSW OF PORT AU PRINCE HAITI
ABOUT 320 MI...510 KM SSE OF KINGSTON JAMAICA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...40 MPH...65 KM/HR
PRESENT MOVEMENT...W OR 280 DEGREES AT 8 MPH...13 KM/HR
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1006 MB...29.71 INCHES
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If you were in Haiti with no shelter; what would you do??? Here are some links I found....


How to Build a Wilderness Shelter

Link

How to Improvise on the Field When You Don't Have a Tent
Link

Improvise a shelter search

Link

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Quoting Chicklit:




models have shifted left but not by a whole lot.
Worst case scenario is off-shore hurricane stall.
Tomas may stallThe models are increasingly suggesting the once Tomas begins moving to the north-northeast, the trough pulling the storm that direction will lift out, stranding Tomas in a region of weak steering currents. Tomas may then wander and dump heavy rains for several days, Saturday through Monday. Given recent model trends, I believe this is likely, but the exact location where Tomas might be stranded is uncertain. Jeff Masters
Once the LLC slows down and the convection catches up with it, Tomas will strenghthen to at least a Cat2 Hurricane before land fall. If a stall happens, well lets just hope that doesnt happen anywhere. Go W Tomas!!!
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Who is a political wizz kid I can WU a question to?
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting stormpetrol:
I just don't think that trough is going to do to Tomas what it is suppose to do, though I could be dead wrong!! Goodnight, Got a birthday tomorrow, not doing too bad for 46 :), Thank God
Have a happy birthday and take it easy on the sauce.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54893
Tomas is not done yet.
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Statistical Models


Dynamic models

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I just don't think that trough is going to do to Tomas what it is suppose to do, though I could be dead wrong!! Goodnight, Got a birthday tomorrow, not doing too bad for 46 :), Thank God
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8123
This is from 5 p.m.

...AIRCRAFT AND SATELLITE FIXES INDICATE THAT TOMAS CONTINUES WESTWARD

AT AROUND 12 KT. THE TRACK FORECAST REASONING IS UNCHANGED FROM EARLIER. A STRONG MID- TO UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH CURRENTLY MOVING INTO THE WESTERN GULF OF MEXICO IS EXPECTED TO SWING EASTWARD INTO THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA.

THIS PATTERN WILL CAUSE THE SYSTEM TO SLOW DOWN AND TURN TOWARD THE NORTH IN THE NEXT 24 TO 48 HOURS. TOMAS IS THEN FORECAST TO TRACK NORTHEASTWARD WITH SOME INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED IN THE 2 TO 4 DAY PERIOD. BY DAY 5...MOST OF THE GLOBAL MODELS SHOW THE TROUGH FLATTENING AND LEAVING TOMAS BEHIND.

THE LATEST TRACK GUIDANCE HAS SHIFTED TO THE LEFT...AND THE OFFICIAL FORECAST IS ADJUSTED IN THAT DIRECTION.

REGARDLESS OF THE EXACT TRACK AND INTENSITY OF TOMAS...IT APPEARS THAT THE TROPICAL CYCLONE WILL POSE A SIGNIFICANT THREAT OF HEAVY RAINFALL OVER HAITI AND THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC LATER IN THE WEEK.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 02/2100Z 13.5N 74.6W 35 KT
12HR VT 03/0600Z 13.8N 75.6W 40 KT
24HR VT 03/1800Z 14.2N 76.6W 50 KT
36HR VT 04/0600Z 14.7N 77.0W 60 KT
48HR VT 04/1800Z 15.3N 76.7W 70 KT
72HR VT 05/1800Z 18.1N 74.8W 85 KT
96HR VT 06/1800Z 21.0N 72.5W 75 KT
120HR VT 07/1800Z 22.5N 70.5W 60 KT

$$
FORECASTER CANGIALOSI/BROWN
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New update from Cancun, winds from NE, does this indicate something with the trough?

Cancun, Cancun, QUINTANA ROO (PWS)
Updated: 2 min 53 sec ago

26 °C
Scattered Clouds
Humidity: 90%
Dew Point: 23 °C
Wind: 1 km/h from the NE

Wind Gust: 3 km/h
Pressure: 1013.4 hPa (Rising)
Heat Index: 27 °C
Visibility: 11.3 kilometers
UV: 0 out of 16
Clouds:
Scattered Clouds 457 m
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 12 m
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Quoting sunlinepr:


80-85% of Haiti's trees are gone.... deforestation everywhere, due to the need to use wood to cook and boil water to make it bacteria free.... With 100 winds / rain and thousands of families under blue tents, there is not much you can do to escape a hurricane.... What I would do is to search for a highway bridge and try to cover under it... look for a big solid building and try to use it to protect me from the wind... and I don't know....


Afraid you're right.
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Watch the covection to west of Tomas, whatever that does , look for Tomas to follow!
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8123
712. 7544
clip model now say yucatan will the others follow and could thomas get that west then turn nne hmmm
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Good night all. I will catch up in the morning...
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T.C.F.W.
21L/TS/T/CX
mark
14.08N/75.03W
IR ANIM/WV ANIM IMAGE
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54893
I think if Tomas can get to 78W to 79W it will help out Haiti.
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Convection will wax and wane that's all part of normal storm activity!
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8123

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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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