Onshore winds push radioactivity towards Tokyo

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:54 PM GMT on March 21, 2011

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Radioactive plumes emitted from Japan's troubled Fukushima nuclear power plant are headed to the southwest towards Tokyo today, carried by onshore northeasterly winds. An elongated area of low pressure is located off the southeast coast of Japan, and the counter-clockwise flow of air around this low may bring several periods of onshore northeasterly winds through Tuesday to northern Japan. According to the latest trajectory plots from NOAA's HYSPLIT model, air moving towards Tokyo today will be lifted by the ascending air associated with the low pressure system, and the radioactive particles may not make it all the way to Tokyo before getting lifted high enough that they get caught in a strong upper-level flow of air from the southwest and carried out to sea. Latest radar loops from the Japan Meteorological Agency show a wide region of light rain affecting Tokyo and surrounding regions, and this rain will tend to remove the great majority of the radioactive particles from the air in a few hours, so it is uncertain how much radioactivity might make it to Tokyo. High pressure will begin building in on Tuesday over Japan, and wind will gradually shift to blow out the north, which would carry radioactivity offshore just to the east of Tokyo. Offshore winds are expected on Wednesday, but onshore winds could re-develop late in the week as a new weak low pressure system affects the region. Radiation at the levels being reported coming from the troubled plant are not high enough to be of concern to human heath outside of Japan, so I will not be posting further plots showing the long-range path of the radioactivity unless there is a major explosion resulting in a significant release of radioactive emissions.


Figure 1. One-day forecast movement of plumes of radioactive air emitted at 10 meters altitude (red line) and 100 meters (blue line) at 18 UTC (2pm EDT) Monday, March 21, 2011 from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The plumes get blown by northeasterly winds close to Tokyo, before getting lifted high enough to get caught in a strong flow of air from the southwest that carries the radioactive air out to sea. Image created using NOAA's HYSPLIT trajectory model.


Figure 2. One-day forecast movement of plumes of radioactive air emitted at 10 meters altitude (red line) and 100 meters (blue line) at 18 UTC (2pm EDT) Tuesday, March 22, 2011 from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Northerly winds are predicted to carry radioactivity just to the east of Tokyo. A modest wind shift could bring the radioactivity to the city. Image created using NOAA's HYSPLIT trajectory model.

Resources
Seven-day weather forecast for Sendai near the Fukushima nuclear plant

The Austrian Weather Service is running trajectory models for Japan.

Current radar loops from the Japan Meteorological Agency

Jeff Masters

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248. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting kimoskee:


The only thing I can find is a small craft warning:

March 21, 2011 at 4:00 p.m.

WARNING MESSAGE (MARINE)


Small Craft Warning remains in effect for inshore and offshore areas of the north coast and also offshore areas of the south coast due to strong winds and rough seas.

pef


The tail of that cold front just north of you was windy through here the other day.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 162 Comments: 37813
Quoting PcolaDan:


I just sprayed my computer with ArmorAll. Waiting to see how it works. ;)



Oh no! You are suppose to put the ArmorAll on your ethernet cable and the keys. Once that malware hits your monitor it's over with. The only way to fix it then is with a new Geek Squad mouse pad. LOL
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4737
Growing old certainly beats the alternative....

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Thanks for the pic SkyePony. Wonder if we now will have new zone. If so are they hurricanes or cyclones?
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244. Skyepony (Mod)
TropicTraveler~ Figured you were out at sea somewhere. Welcome back. Had to check out the storm you were looking at. That last one held together pretty good when it stepped off land.. There it is.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 162 Comments: 37813
243. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting TampaFLUSA:
How many times above normal is the radiation in Florida?


Not much above background. That global model is a measurement of Just Xe-133 which is a really light gas that will stay aloft much longer than many other particles that are being washed out. They seem to be checking ground obs & didn't mention FL, but looking at the animation & model you wouldn't expect to be able to measure anything til tomorrow.

I'd love for some math wizard to work out all the zeros. The scale is odd (it's translated in my blog entry). As some of that is referring to the other model runs on the page here.



Baha~ I archived it in my blog,for what that is worth.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 162 Comments: 37813
Did I kill the blog??
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Hi everybody - haven't been on for a while and have missed all the lively interaction regarding weather. A couple of things -

The news this am said there is an area of sub tropical distrubance off of Brazil, which is a very rare occurence and theorized that this would be a new area for storm formation due to global warming.

And the other, I worked for a long time for a utility in the US which was stockpiling spent fuel. The gripe at the time was that for every kilowatt generated for nuclear fuel, the govt had to be paid its share for storing the fuel. The kicker was, the govt wouldn't provide a place to store the fuel so it just piled up. Millions of dollars paid in return for no commitment by the government to safely store the fuel. Don't know the system in Japan but let's hope our coastal plants don't get hit with each plant's stockpiles in an earthquake/tsunami situation. The reactors themselves (at least the one in Arizona) is soundly built and seldom has issues. But those stockpiles just sit there waiting to happen.

Feels good to be back. I've been laid up and just haven't been on line.
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Quoting Drakoen:


No accusation was made, that was your assumption. I simply asked why you avoided that month that didn't have the tripole which of course results in higher in 850mb lower speeds. That reflects the variability of the NAO.
I think you are trying to find a relationship between the upper level winds (200mb) that may or may not be there. To my knowledge the NAO impacted the low level winds speeds.

If you can find me a paper that relates the NAO to upper level winds in the subtropical Atlantic, I will gladly read it.


While the subtropical high may not extend up to 200mb, height rises and falls still do occur with swings in the NAO. Obviously this will affect the winds at that level. The correlation map shows at least a weak-moderate relationship during the hurricane season.

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Quoting Levi32:


I avoided nothing. The trade winds were actually stronger than normal in February, due to the fact that it wasn't as much of a tripole.



I'd also appreciate it if you don't accuse me of "covering things up" without any proof, because I have done no such thing.

Also, I said that sometimes the NAO is the cause of reduced or increased wind shear. I also said that it was my bad for not clarifying as much in my very first response to Grothar, as I didn't mention that I was speaking only of the winter, where it predominantly lessens shear.


No accusation was made, that was your assumption. I simply asked why you avoided that month that didn't have the tripole which of course results in higher in 850mb lower speeds. That reflects the variability of the NAO.
I think you are trying to find a relationship between the upper level winds (200mb) that may or may not be there. To my knowledge the NAO impacted the low level winds speeds.

If you can find me a paper that relates the NAO to upper level winds in the subtropical Atlantic, I will gladly read it.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30161
Quoting Grothar:


Didn't mean to get you guys into an argument, but it has been interesting to watch. I do have another question. Even though the Arctic dipole anomaly is a pretty recent observation, I haven't seen incorporated too much into any analysis in how it affects wind shear in either a negative or positive AO. I believe Dr. Masters may have mentioned once or twice, but do you have additional information on its possible effects? After reading a little on it, I wonder if that could have been the missing factor when the tropical systems didn't behave like they did in so-called off-years.


Again it really depends. As you can see, the correlation between the AO and 200mb zonal wind (the main contributer to wind shear) is nearly zero in the deep tropical Atlantic. It is nearly zero for 850mb zonal wind as well.



The numerical value of the AO or the NAO only tells you how the polar annular mode is evolving overall. It does not tell you the details of the complex short wave-length summer pattern over the north Atlantic. It can look very different and have several different faces for any given value of the AO or NAO.

For example, although the positive NAO is believed by some to direct more storms out to sea and protect the United States, it turns out that the years in which the U.S. received the most hurricane landfalls had a mean positive NAO during the summer months with a stronger baroclinic zone south of Iceland (seen below). This helps set up the blocking south of Hudson Bay over North America which cultivates tropical activity southeast of the US and allows storms to get directed towards the coast instead of recurving away from it. The upper convergence on the back side of the Icelandic Low can also contribute to surface ridging in the north Atlantic which prevents some of the storms from recurving.

Aug-Oct 500mb height anomalies for years with 3 or more U.S. hurricane landfalls:

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Pressure Gradient Force The variation of heating (and consequently the variations of pressure) from one locality to another is the initial factor that produces movement of air or wind. The most direct path from high to low pressure is the path along which the pressure is changing most rapidly. The rate of change is called the pressure gradient. Pressure gradient force is the force that moves air from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure. The velocity of the wind depends upon the pressure gradient. If the pressure gradient is strong, the wind speed is high. If the pressure gradient is weak, the wind speed is light.
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If anyone speaks Japanese,especially Japanese Sign Language, we could use some help. There is a link posted to our blog from the Japanese Federation of the Deaf to a video. We need to know what is being said.

Many thanks!!
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Quoting Drakoen:


I can go back further if you want and the result is the same.

Also why avoid the fact that the tripole wasn't defined February? I've seen you cover winter correlation but not hurricane season correlation.

It is known that La Nina increases the pressure in the upper atmosphere of the subtropical Atlantic and strengthens the Tropical Easterly Jet but whether or not these are a function of the NAO, I have not seen explicitly stated.


I avoided nothing. The trade winds were actually stronger than normal in February, due to the fact that it wasn't as much of a tripole.



I'd also appreciate it if you don't accuse me of "covering things up" without any proof, because I have done no such thing.

Also, I said that sometimes the NAO is the cause of reduced or increased wind shear. I also said that it was my bad for not clarifying as much in my very first response to Grothar, as I didn't mention that I was speaking only of the winter, where it predominantly lessens shear.
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Quoting kimoskee:


The only thing I can find is a small craft warning:

March 21, 2011 at 4:00 p.m.

WARNING MESSAGE (MARINE)


Small Craft Warning remains in effect for inshore and offshore areas of the north coast and also offshore areas of the south coast due to strong winds and rough seas.

pef



Looks like a strong pressure gradient.


Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25996
Interesting, and quite significantly so.

Officials: South Fla. water table rose after quake


Still checkin this too,,,,,,, remember the slosh in Lake Pontchartrain from the Chile quake?

Theoretical P-Wave Travel Times
Magnitude 9.0 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Friday, March 11, 2011 at 05:46:23 UTC


Hummm?

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Quoting CaribbeanStorm:


I am wondering too Kim, I live in Acadia, near Barbican.


The only thing I can find is a small craft warning:

March 21, 2011 at 4:00 p.m.

WARNING MESSAGE (MARINE)


Small Craft Warning remains in effect for inshore and offshore areas of the north coast and also offshore areas of the south coast due to strong winds and rough seas.

pef
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting kimoskee:
Extremely breezy here in St. Andrew, Jamaica. Norbrook to be precise.

Spoke with my mom in Stony HIll and it's bad there too.

Transformer exploded ad we had a very short power outage. Probably because of power lines hitting each other in the wind,

Anybody know what's affecting the weather conditions?


I am wondering too Kim, I live in Acadia, near Barbican.
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Quoting caneswatch:



Never gonna let you down.

Geoff, who cares about the "blog police" AHEM


It really is comical to me. This is an "Entertainment Blog". Yes, good information is passed on here. But if a Hurricane is a threat to my area, I will listen to my local authorities. Not random blog wish casters.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11103
Extremely breezy here in St. Andrew, Jamaica. Norbrook to be precise.

Spoke with my mom in Stony HIll and it's bad there too.

Transformer exploded ad we had a very short power outage. Probably because of power lines hitting each other in the wind,

Anybody know what's affecting the weather conditions?
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:



Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Had to do it canes. I know it%u2019s tired, but it fit perfectly with your post.

To those offended, do you know how much I have had to put up with your posts????


Never gonna let you down.

Geoff, who cares about the "blog police" AHEM
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Had to do it canes. I know it’s tired, but it fit perfectly with your post.

To those offended, do you know how much I have had to put up with your posts????
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11103
GaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaDamn.I miss the hurricane disscussion compleatly.Well maybe just one comment.Anyway I think the U.S,and the south carribean is in danger.The luck has to end some where along the line you know.....
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Enjoy it now canes. You are a smart guy, so make wise decisions.


I already do. My motto: "Never give up."
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Growing old isn't to bad... its when you go from old to ancient like you did, that hurts :)


OOOOh, that hurts. They say you are only as old as you feel. If that's true, I'm in big trouble.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25996
Quoting Grothar:


Don't ever get old Drak, It's not fun. LOL


Growing old isn't to bad... its when you go from old to ancient like you did, that hurts :)
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Quoting caneswatch:


Yeah, growing up isn't fun LOL


Enjoy it now canes. You are a smart guy, so make wise decisions.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11103
Quoting Grothar:


Don't ever get old Drak, It's not fun. LOL


Yeah, growing up isn't fun LOL
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162 alfabob "I hope this is not true" then quoting "blah blah blah blah"...

...from an obviously disreputable source, and no I haven't bothered to google for the who. Conflating "weapons-grade plutonium" with "MOX fuel rods" is well past "Obama isn't American" territory and nearly into the "UN black helicopters are gathering to attack the US" zone.

Unless the manufacturer is mixing already purified weapons-grade plutonium with depleted uranium to create the mixed oxide fuel rod -- which would be contrary to the whole point of making MOX -- it's just as easy to separate weapons-grade uranium from a MOX fuel rod (or from a uranium isotopes only fuel rod) as it is to separate weapons-grade plutonium from the other plutonium isotopes contained in a MOX fuel rod (or contained in an already used/spent uranium fuel rod). NOT very easy, and ya gotta worry more about workplace contamination.
Separation-for-enrichment to weapons-grade is quite a bit more difficult than the "Iranians are gonna nuke us tomorrow" crowd wants ya to believe.

And just chemically separating the plutonium from the MOX without separation-for-enrichment leaves ya with a lump of metal that goes "phfffut" insteada "KABOOM". Witness the Pakistani "nuclear bomb" tests, or at least as likely, Pakistani dirty bomb tests.
Good for contaminating neighborhoods, but crummy for taking out military targets with instant destruction; cheaper to use nerve gas for a similar level of incapacitation.
Good ifn ya wanna induce instant rage in every other nuclear power, without inducing much fear of "what's gonna happen to us if we join in on the retaliation?"

Yeah, Japan undoubtedly has the technological capability to build isotope enrichment facilities, then to create weapons-grade fuel, then to design&build a working bomb.
But it has had all that without any help from the French: probably since the early '70s, and certainly before the French had achieved its latest generation fusion(enhanced-fission)bombs.
Which leaves the only reason for importing French MOX as being that the French were offering those fuel rods for sale at a price which the Japanese can't undercut... not even by including an energy independence bonus for domestic production.
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Quoting Skyepony:
Tomorrow looks like a contaminating day for Japan..



Anybody that wants to see the global plume track to date, click on my handle..shocked diluted plume is sinking to the surface here in FL with this backdoor cold front. Yesterday I posted the airnow fine particle air monitor map of the gulf. Had never seen FL all in the moderate except the worst of the oil spill with a west wind. I was assuming maybe that new slick they were checking out til I went outside..Double checked it..east to west across the state. Looks a bit better tonight, little elevated compared to usual...plume maybe?

How many times above normal is the radiation in Florida?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


Didn't mean to get you guys into an argument, but it has been interesting to watch. I do have another question. Even though the Arctic dipole anomaly is a pretty recent observation, I haven't seen incorporated too much into any analysis in how it affects wind shear in either a negative or positive AO. I believe Dr. Masters may have mentioned once or twice, but do you have additional information on its possible effects? After reading a little on it, I wonder if that could have been the missing factor when the tropical systems didn't behave like they did in so-called off-years.


Haven't seen any papers and searched through google scholar.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30161
Quoting Drakoen:


At first you don't succeed pick yourself up and try again.


Don't ever get old Drak, It's not fun. LOL
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25996
Anyway, thanks for the sane discussion tonight, all.

I gotta get out by 4:30 a.m. tomorrow, so I'm off to bed. Have a good one!
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21886
Quoting Grothar:
.


At first you don't succeed pick yourself up and try again.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30161
Quoting Drakoen:


I can go back further if you want and the result is the same.

Also why avoid the fact that the tripole wasn't defined February? I've seen you cover winter correlation but not hurricane season correlation.

It is known that La Nina increases the pressure in the upper atmosphere of the subtropical Atlantic and strengthens the Tropical Easterly Jet but whether or not these are a function of the NAO, I have not seen explicitly stated.


Didn't mean to get you guys into an argument, but it has been interesting to watch. I do have another question. Even though the Arctic dipole anomaly is a pretty recent observation, I haven't seen incorporated too much into any analysis in how it affects wind shear in either a negative or positive AO. I believe Dr. Masters may have mentioned once or twice, but do you have additional information on its possible effects? After reading a little on it, I wonder if that could have been the missing factor when the tropical systems didn't behave like they did in so-called off-years.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25996
There certainly seems to be a certain amount of correlation between increased storm numbers in the ATL and a warm PDO... very casual observation, mind u...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21886
Quoting alfabob:


Here's a graph I made of previous Atlantic hurricane seasons. The data was divided into 3 separate categories of sustained winds (6 hour reports). This should give a general idea of the shear environments by comparing the relative amplitude of each category for a single year (and other cycles). *Also this is before any changes were made to the 2010 data, so the numbers could change a little for last year.

Thanks for this. Now if we could overlay this on the PDO chart I found....



Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21886
.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 25996
@ Skye re. #201, r u going to archive that somewhere? I think that's a pretty good summary of a realistic scenario for this season. I'm still not seeing the el nino working out, though with BoM heading that way I may take that possibility a bit more seriously.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21886
207. Skyepony (Mod)
Tomorrow looks like a contaminating day for Japan..



Anybody that wants to see the global plume track to date, click on my handle..shocked diluted plume is sinking to the surface here in FL with this backdoor cold front. Yesterday I posted the airnow fine particle air monitor map of the gulf. Had never seen FL all in the moderate except the worst of the oil spill with a west wind. I was assuming maybe that new slick they were checking out til I went outside..Double checked it..east to west across the state. Looks a bit better tonight, little elevated compared to usual...plume maybe?

Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 162 Comments: 37813
ATLANTIC SEASON NUMBER OUTLOOK for 2011
TOTAL STORMS 17 TO 19
TOTAL HURRICANES 9 TO 11
TOTAL MAJORS 5 TO 7
TOTAL CAT 5's 2 TO 4
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Complete Update





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WatchingThisOne Wrote: "Do you have the name of the malware?"

I use avast antivirus protection and this is the message I received:

Infection: HTML:Script-inf
Object:…:www.wunderground/cgi-bin/findweather/g etForecast?

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201. Skyepony (Mod)
Between the T-depth anomalies, the assorted arrangement of cold & warm water & the NASA GMAO enso model I'm leaning somewhere between warm Neutral & moderate El Nino by the end of season. Enso seems to control where the Bermuda high lays..way farther west for stronger La Nina to way father east for strong el nino. Keep in mind the few month delay from the current conditions to affect the atmosphere that way. Tripping into & near on through Neutral for early season..would give us more neutral atmospheric conditions conditions for later season. That all comes to me as early season being more a problem for Mexico/TX, maybe Caribbean with a more northern & eastward trend as it progresses. I'm more concerned here in FL than I was this time last year, when it looked like a mod la nina on the way.

Over all ACE is still running really low. So far this year the S Hem wasn't terribly active, west of India was slow. WPAC usually has something & it was pretty quiet with waves not really pulling it together at all. The waves have been impressive once this side of Africa. Seeing a lot of spin for this time of year. May be like last where Atlantic makes up some of this deficit. I don't think ENSO has a huge play on numbers..maybe sunspots. 15 or more sounds good.

Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 162 Comments: 37813
Quoting Levi32:


That was in response to your quoted post about recent 850mb wind activity.

I understand about Grothar's question. I was making a point that the positive NAO does not always increase wind shear, both during the hurricane season and the winter.


I can go back further if you want and the result is the same.

Also why avoid the fact that the tripole wasn't defined February? I've seen you cover winter correlation but not hurricane season correlation.

It is known that La Nina increases the pressure in the upper atmosphere of the subtropical Atlantic and strengthens the Tropical Easterly Jet but whether or not these are a function of the NAO, I have not seen explicitly stated.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30161
Kyodo: Radiation 1,600 times normal level 20km from Fukushima nuke plant.

Ouch.
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Quoting Drakoen:


Also I just realized. Why did you pick March instead of February to match the previous graph of the 200mb geopotential heights? I'll answer that for you. The tripole was clearly not as defined or even there. Also the month of February actually reflected more of a La Nina-like pattern in contrast to what was observed in December and January of the 500mb geopotential height anomalies. Our concern and the primary questions concern, asked by Grothar, is not of these months but of the months of hurricane season. Simply stating a positive NAO results in less shear is careless and other factors need to be taken into consideration.


That was in response to your quoted post about recent 850mb wind activity.

I understand about Grothar's question. I was making a point that the positive NAO does not always increase wind shear, both during the hurricane season and the winter. My initial answer of "less" was insufficient, as I was talking about the winter and did not mention the hurricane season. That's my bad.
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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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