The global tropical cyclone season of 2010: record inactivity

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:14 AM GMT on April 03, 2011

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The year 2010 was one of the strangest on record globally for tropical cyclones. Each year, the globe has about 92 tropical cyclones--called hurricanes in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific, typhoons in the Western Pacific, and tropical cyclones in the Southern Hemisphere. But in 2010, we had just 68 of these storms--the fewest since the dawn of the satellite era in 1970. The previous record slowest year was 1977, when 69 tropical cyclones occurred world-wide. Both the Western Pacific and Eastern Pacific had their quietest seasons on record in 2010, the Atlantic had its 3rd busiest season since record keeping began in 1851, and the Southern Hemisphere had a below average season. As a result, the Atlantic, which ordinarily accounts for just 13% of global cyclone activity, accounted for 28% in 2010--the greatest proportion since accurate tropical cyclone records began in the 1970s. Global Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) for 2010 was the lowest since the late 1970s (ACE is a measure of the total destructive power of a hurricane season, based on the number of days strong winds are observed.)


Figure 1. Visible satellite image of 2010's strongest tropical cyclone: Super Typhoon Megi at 2:25 UTC October 18, 2010. A reconnaissance aircraft measured a central pressure of 885 mb and surface winds of 190 mph in the storm, making Megi the 8th strongest tropical cyclone in world history. Image credit: NASA.

A record quiet 2010 Northwest Pacific Typhoon Season
The Western Pacific set records for fewest number of named storms (fifteen, previous record seventeen in 1998) and typhoons (nine, tied with the previous record of nine in 1998. Note that Tropical Storm Mindulle was upgraded to a typhoon in post-analysis after the season was over.) Reliable records began in the mid-1960s. For just the second year in history, the Atlantic had more named storms and hurricane-strength storms than the Western Pacific. The only other year this occurred was in 2005. Ordinarily, the Western Pacific has double to triple the amount of tropical cyclones of the Atlantic. One other notable feature of the 2010 season was the lack of a land-falling typhoon on the Japanese mainland. This is only the second such occurrence since 1988.

In 2010, there was only one super typhoon--a storm with at least 150 mph winds--in the Western Pacific. However, this storm, Super Typhoon Megi, was a doozy. Megi's sustained winds cranked up to a fearsome 190 mph and its central pressure bottomed out at 885 mb on October 16, making it the 8th most intense tropical cyclone in world history. Fortunately, Megi weakened significantly before hitting the Philippines as a Category 3 typhoon. Megi killed 69 people on Taiwan and in the Philippines and did $700 million in damage, and was the second deadliest and damaging typhoon of 2010. Category 3 Typhoon Fanapi was the deadliest and most damaging typhoon of 2010, doing over $1 billion in damage to Taiwan and China and killing 105.

The record quiet typhoon season in 2010 was due, in part, to the La Niña phenomena. During such events, the formation region for Western Pacific typhoons moves northwestward, closer to China. Thus, storms that form in the Western Pacific spend less time over water before they encounter land, resulting in a lesser chance to become a named storm, and less time to intensify. They also accumulate a lower ACE due to their shorter duration. Since the Western Pacific is responsible for 35% of the world's major tropical cyclones, the global ACE value is strongly tied to year-to-year variations in the El Niño/La Niña cycle.


Figure 2.
Statistics for the global tropical cyclone season of 2010. The two numbers in each box represent the actual number observed in 2010, followed by the averages from the period 1983-2007 (in parentheses). Averages and records were computed using the December 23, 2008 release of NOAA's International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship.

A record quiet 2010 Eastern Pacific Typhoon Season
In the Eastern Pacific, it was also a record-quiet season. On average, the Eastern Pacific has 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes in a season. In 2010, there were 8 named storms, 3 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. The previous record quietest season since 1966 was the year 1977, when the Eastern Pacific had 8 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and zero intense hurricanes. La Niña was largely responsible for the quiet Eastern Pacific hurricane season, due in part to the cool sea surface temperatures it brought. It is quite remarkable that both the Eastern and Western Pacific ocean basins had record quiet seasons in the same year--there is no historical precedent for such an occurrence.

Climate change and the 2008 global tropical cyclone season
We only have about 30 years of reliable global tropical cyclone data, and tropical cyclones are subject to large natural variations in numbers and intensities. Thus, it will be very difficult at present to prove that climate change is affecting global tropical cyclone activity. (This is less so in the Atlantic, where we have a longer reliable data record to work with.) A common theme of many recent publications on the future of tropical cyclones globally in a warming climate is that the total number of these storms will decrease, but the strongest storms will get stronger. For example, a 2010 review paper published in Nature Geosciences concluded: "greenhouse warming will cause the globally averaged intensity of tropical cyclones to shift towards stronger storms, with intensity increases of 2 - 11% by 2100. Existing modeling studies also consistently project decreases in the globally averaged frequency of tropical cyclones, by 6 - 34%. Balanced against this, higher resolution modeling studies typically project substantial increases in the frequency of the most intense cyclones, and increases of the order of 20% in the precipitation rate within 100 km of the storm centre." Last year, I discussed a paper by Bender et al that concluded that the total number of Atlantic hurricanes is expected to decrease by the end of the century, but there could be an increase of 81% in the number of Category 4 and 5 storms. The net effect of a decrease in total number of hurricanes but an increase in the strongest hurricanes should cause an increase in U.S. hurricane damages of about 30% by the end of the century, the authors computed, assuming that hurricane damages behave as they did during the past century. A new paper just published by Murakami et. al predicts that Western Pacific tropical cyclones may decrease in number by 23% by the end of the century, primarily due to a shift in the formation location and tracks of these storms.

In light of these theoretical results, it is interesting that 2010 saw the lowest number of global tropical cyclones on record, but an average number of very strong Category 4 and 5 storms. Fully 21% of last year's tropical cyclones reached Category 4 or 5 strength, versus just 14% during the period 1983 - 2007. Most notably, in 2010 we had the second strongest tropical cyclone on record in the Arabian Sea (Category 4 Cyclone Phet in June) and the strongest tropical cyclone ever to hit Myanmar/Burma (October's Tropical Cyclone Giri, an upper end Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds.) It is too early to read anything into this year's global tropical cyclone numbers, though--we need many more years of data before making any judgments on how global tropical cyclones might be responding to climate change.


Figure 3. Visible satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Phet on Thursday, June 3, 2010. Record heat over southern Asia in May helped heat up the Arabian Sea to 2°C above normal, and the exceptionally warm SSTs helped fuel Tropical Cyclone Phet into the second strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Arabian Sea. Phet peaked at Category 4 strength with 145 mph winds. Only Category 5 Cyclone Gonu of 2007, which devastated Oman, was a stronger Arabian Sea cyclone. Phet killed 44 people and did $700 million in damage to Oman.


Figure 4. Visible MODIS satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Giri taken at 2:55am EDT October 22, 2010, just prior to landfall in Myanmar/Burma. At the time, Giri was a Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds. Giri killed 157 people and did $359 million in damage. Image credit: NASA.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting IFuSAYso:


this blog has died unless u agree with the majority that has honestly not done their unbiased homework. This is the Weather Underground.
You've been on the blog for only a month. How can you say it's died?

Not to mention it's activity is almost entirely dependent on the weather activity. When there's a cat 5 hurricane in the atlantic this blog sees a new page 50 post page every 15 minutes.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Quoting IFuSAYso:


this blog has died unless u agree with the majority that has honestly not done their unbiased homework. This is the Weather Underground.


oh ya, he still works for FOX after the fact. Your post didnt mention that.
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1767. flsky
Actually, I've used FF for over a year....
Quoting DontAnnoyMe:


Hey sky, sorry to hear you're still having problems. But even if you have WU in compatibility mode it will still mess up sometimes. Only way out is FF/Chrome. Even EYES finally switched ;-)
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Quoting IFuSAYso:


0r 30 million years
You're missing the point, 3 months of cooling is insignificant.

If we see 30 yrs of cooling, or even 5 years, then I'll hop aboard your ship and say, gee you're right, the earth is cooling.

3 months isn't going to cut it for me though. We've seen numerous temporary cool downs over the past 40 years, but the overall trend is up.


If you'd like to continue discussing climate change, there's a blog for it
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Quoting TampaSpin:


Ya, as my wife said the other day. "Doesn't his overall ideology make a little sense if you just listen to his overall ideals. No one can deny his love for the country and the world."


the funny thing is, he has hit the nail on the head. he is over the top "crying" for me. But many of his predictions/claims have come to fruition.
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Quoting flsky:
Rah! -just wish they could get their site to work for me like EVERY OTHER SITE I ACCESS ON THE INTERNET!!!!!!


Hey sky, sorry to hear you're still having problems. But even if you have WU in compatibility mode it will still mess up sometimes. Only way out is FF/Chrome. Even EYES finally switched ;-)
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Quoting IFuSAYso:
In ref to the Ike comment (CNN) about Beck. He makes 2,7 mil at FOX out of his 30 Mil a year empire. Your focus is mislead.


Ya, as my wife said the other day. "Doesn't his overall ideology make a little sense if you just listen to his overall ideals. No one can deny his love for the country and the world."
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
In ref to the Ike comment (CNN) about Beck. He makes 2,7 mil at FOX out of his 30 Mil a year empire. Your focus is mislead.
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1760. flsky
Rah! -just wish they could get their site to work for me like EVERY OTHER SITE I ACCESS ON THE INTERNET!!!!!!
Quoting IFuSAYso:


this blog has died unless u agree with the majority that has honestly not done their unbiased homework. This is the Weather Underground.
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1759. flsky
2 B OR 0 2 B
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Quoting RTLSNK:


Puns? A long way? Is that really the question? I think not. :)


this blog has died unless u agree with the majority that has honestly not done their unbiased homework. This is the Weather Underground.
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1757. RTLSNK
Quoting Grothar:


Does it really "matter". (This is fun, puns in Quantum physics) This blog has come a long way.


Puns? A long way? Is that really the question? I think not. :)
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Quoting TomTaylor:
stop acting like co2 is the only thing that determines the temperature of our earth.

And, you're forgetting that climate is the average weather over a 30yr + period. Not 3 months.1/120 of 30 yrs.


0r 30 million years
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Quoting Ossqss:


He did. and it fell into the ocean just as the other did a few years back. The question would be, who had the most to lose from garnering truth ?

BTW, global temps below normal 3rd month in a row or so? That should never happen in a warming world should it? Is it a linear or logarithmic relationship with CO2 and temp?

Perhaps the great cartographer, who desperately desires to map out our future for we are not capable of such (in his eyes), could tell us if we ask him? I will let you ask him :)

Global temperature still headed down- UAH: negative territory
stop acting like co2 is the only thing that determines the temperature of our earth.

And, you're forgetting that climate is the average weather over a 30yr + period. Not 3 months.1/120 of 30 yrs.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Quoting IFuSAYso:

um, are we the majority? i think not, do you do diligence. or make a "smart reply".

Your*
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Quoting TomTaylor:

um no. we banned chemicals that destroyed the ozone layer.

um, are we the majority? i think not, do you do diligence. or make a "smart reply".
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1752. flsky
Um, huh?
Quoting Barefootontherocks:
LOL, bl.
I see your add.
Or more specifically, are bosons a causal factor in the creation of hadrons?
Likely so, if two particles exchanged a boson.

Oh, wow.
White sheep have a higher albedo. What a story.
LMAO.

Goodnight, One and All.
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The land of Varlet's
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Quoting IFuSAYso:


when all quotes come from 1800ish to present? How old is the planet... blah blah blah. I remember the Ozone being an issue when i was a kids, we didnt fix it, it cycled.

um no. we banned chemicals that destroyed the ozone layer.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
Quoting Jedkins01:



LOL it is funny when I hear about the NWS issuing flash flood warnings there with half inch per hour rain rates, I guess that's a "heavy downpour" there, LOL.

We got 8 inches of rain last Thursday and 3 of that fell in 15 minutes with a huge super cell, we got some flooding in our street, and it drained later that night. Our little area is considered low lying and "poor drainage". Yet our drainage is still probably better then it is in 90% of the U.S. That is why most of time you don't have to be worried about massive amounts of rain in West Central Florida, unless you live in reaaaally low ground and an exceptionally bad drainage area. Naturally we just don't really flood. Ive seen some wild rainfall events over the years including a 15 inch total in 3 hours a few years back ,but it never gets into to the house, ever. It just backs up in the street some when we get 3 inch per hour rain rates or bigger, but it drains later.

Highest rain rate I've seen here was about 3 in an hour. But it was only over a 5 minute period lol

Quoting BahaHurican:
On the arrival of Spring... I wish it would just stay already....

We've had the first rain in weeks since Sunday, which has thrown my sinuses into a tailspin [no more dust, heh hey], but the sprinkles that fell sure weren't enough to quell the 80% rain deficit we've been experiencing since Feb....
do you live in baja?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
1746. Skyepony (Mod)
Sea turtles continue to wash ashore along the Gulf, forcing the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to scramble and figure out what is causing the spike. Last week, the Natural Resources Defense Council and The Huffington Post were first to publish blogs about the sea turtle deaths in Mississippi. Since then, the national media picked up the story. Last Friday, NMFS released a statement with some details about its investigation:

In the past few weeks, we've seen an increase in turtle strandings in the northern Gulf, primarily in Mississippi. The spring time is the typical time when turtle strandings in this region begin to increase, but the sharp increases in recent days are of concern to us….NOAA Fisheries is in contact with the states of MS and LA regarding current trawl and other fishery activity that can result in turtle by catch and mortality. In addition, tests will be done for biotoxins, such as those from harmful algae blooms, which are common in the Gulf. …All causes of death, including petroleum, will be investigated when possible based on decomposition. During a necropsy, the full GI tract is examined for product or evidence of oil ingestion. Additionally, samples are taken for PAH analysis. In addition, all turtles are being carefully examined for signs of external oiling.

Like the dolphin strandings this year, it's likely that many more turtles have died and will never be found. A recent study of dolphin deaths showed the true number of mortalities is probably 50 times what is recovered. As of Friday, NOAA says recent deaths of sea turtles, all of which are included on the Endangered Species list, include 6 in Alabama, 10 in Louisiana, and 47 in Mississippi. Make that at least 50 confirmed sea turtle deaths in Mississippi. This weekend, Pass Christian resident Shirley Tillman found three more dead turtles. Altogether, she has found nine this year. Over her more than 30 years in the community, she has never seen a dead turtle before. On Saturday, she took another walk on the beach, this time with a PBS television producer. Within an hour they found one turtle badly decomposed and hidden in marsh grass near Waveland. Shirley says she only discovered it because of the smell. On Sunday she went back to check on the turtle, which had been spray-painted orange for pick-up by authorities. That's when she was told there was yet another dead turtle on the beach nearby.

"It's crazy that I go out there nearly every day and find them. It makes me mad that NOAA is now trying to blame the shrimp fishermen for killing them in their nets when the shrimp season isn't even open yet and hardly any boats are out there." Shrimp fishermen feel the same way. They are required to use turtle excluders, devices that allow turtles to escape drowning in shrimp nets. Every year some turtles are killed by fishing boats inadvertently, but shrimpers say to blame them for the recent jump in turtle deaths is hard to believe. "It's about as ridiculous as anything else I heard during this whole oil spill," said Louisiana Shrimp Association President Clint Guidry. "This time of year shrimp fishermen are fixing their boats and getting ready for the main season that begins in May. I guess they've run out of excuses after saying everything is being killed by dead zones and algae, so now they need to blame us." Nearly two weeks ago a new oil spill from a shallow well off the Louisiana coast leaked oil into the water that resulted in a huge slick that stretched for miles and polluted parts of Grand Isle and other nearby marshes. The Coast Guard says it was due to oil leaking from a well being capped by Anglo-Suisse, an oil drilling firm based in Texas. Initially the company said it had leaked only 5 gallons of oil.

But the oil slick was clearly much bigger. According to a Skytruth, an analysis of the slick using satellite imagery shows the well may have gushed as much as 640,000 gallons of Louisiana crude into the sea. It's not clear what impact this oil spill has had on marine life. In Mississippi, Shirley Tillman believes BP oil has something to do with the dead sea life she constantly encounters by the shore. And she wonders how this may affect vacationers now flocking to the region. "It's bad enough for turtles and dolphins to be dying, but should people and their children be swimming in this water too?" That is not the kind of message BP or local politicians want to hear. Major PR campaigns are underway to convince people the Gulf is normal and the seafood is safe. That's the message they want to people to hear. But that message is at odds with the views of Gulf residents like Shirley Tillman. She sees a different reality every day she walks the beach.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36148
good nite all, won't be back on until Sunday, so Have a great rest of the week. :)
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1744. Skyepony (Mod)
Check the hurricane archives on WU (Wilma). You can select between storm detail(includes space & modis pics), youtubes & WUnderPhotos. WunderTornado tracker has Youtube videos too.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36148
Quoting IFuSAYso:

awesome song, he went back to Sound Garden, looking forward to the new noise. "music is noise that is pleasing".

a weed is a rose in the wrong spot.
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Quoting Ossqss:


Well, I responded, you did not. So help us out "all knowing one" Show us your solution to the problem you scream constantly of !

Gnight~~~~~



Edit,,,,,, now I don't like tethered phones :)

awesome song, he went back to Sound Garden, looking forward to the new noise. "music is noise that is pleasing".
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1741. Ossqss
Quoting Neapolitan:

OSS, I've made this offer before, yet you've never taken me up on it: I will send you a clean, crisp, five-dollar bill if you ever post anything climate-related here that comes from a science site (as opposed to drivel such as that found on WUWT). Seriously. Mr. Lincoln is waiting... ;-)


Well, I responded, you did not. So help us out "all knowing one" Show us your solution to the problem you scream constantly of !

Gnight~~~~~



Edit,,,,,, now I don't like tethered phones :)
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8183
Quoting Barefootontherocks:
Hey, Taco.
Colorado State's spring outlook seems to zap the hurricane pulses back up.

Good to see you.
:)
Yeah, it seems like it does that every year, and of coarse especially into the beginning of the Invest season(May to December or something like that) Where everybody is on there toes (when strong invests form) to see if it will be named. Most don't survive at the beggining of the season, but gradually get stronger.
I've kept track of every invest since the beggining of last season so for anyone that enjoys these kind of storm facts here you go...

2010
Round: 1 –
90L: Bust,
91L: Bust,
92L: Bust,
93L: Alex,
94L: Bust,
95L: Bust,
96L: TD2,
97L: Bonnie,
98L: Bust,
99L: Bust,
Round 2 –
90L: Bust,
91L: Colin,
92L: Bust,
93L: Bust,
94L: TD5,
95L: Danielle,
96L: Earl,
97L: Fiona,
98L: Gaston,
99L: Bust,
Round 3 –
90L: Hermine,
91L: Igor,
92L: Karl,
93L: Julia,
94L: Lisa,
95L: Matthew,
96L: Nicole,
97L: Otto
98L: Paula
99L: Richard
Round 4 –
90L: Bust,
91L: Tomas,
92L: Shary,
93L: Bust,
94L: Bust,
95L: Bust

2011
Round: 1 –
90L: Bust,
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1739. Grothar
Quoting washingtonian115:
"I don't care who you are!!"


LOL
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23739
Quoting caneswatch:


Uh, you're not my dad, so I don't have to listen to you. How 'bout that LOL
"I don't care who you are!!"
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Quoting taco2me61:
I did not want to for get "Atmoaggie" :o) Good to see you too :o)
Greetings earthling.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
1736. Grothar
Quoting beell:
nite, bf.
)


Took you long enough. The guy is probably asleep already.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23739
1735. beell
nite, bf.
)
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LOL, bl.
I see your add.
Or more specifically, are bosons a causal factor in the creation of hadrons?
Likely so, if two particles exchanged a boson.

Oh, wow.
White sheep have a higher albedo. What a story.
LMAO.

Goodnight, One and All.
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1733. Grothar
Quoting beell:
LOL, bf n' Gro. It is time for albedo here.

RealClimate-Sheep/Albedo Feedback



I say, BAAAA to the whole article. (That was really funny)
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23739
1732. beell
LOL, bf n' Gro. It is time for albedo here.

RealClimate-Sheep/Albedo Feedback

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1731. Ossqss
Quoting Grothar:


Does it really "matter". (This is fun, puns in Quantum physics) This blog has come a long way.


I hate smartphones :)

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8183
Quoting Grothar:


Get to bed!!!


Uh, you're not my dad, so I don't have to listen to you. How 'bout that LOL
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
1729. Grothar
Quoting Barefootontherocks:


No. But they might lead to albedo.


Does it really "matter". (This is fun, puns in Quantum physics) This blog has come a long way.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23739
Quoting beell:
Do bosons lead to hadrons?


No. But they might lead to albedo.
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1727. Grothar
Quoting beell:
Do bosons lead to hadrons?


Wouldn't think there would be enough space. The whole thing sounds a little quarky to me.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23739
Quoting taco2me61:
Well you got the "Old Face Right" LOL.... :o) "How are You"????And Hey to you to Barefootontherocks :o) Its always good to see my Good Friends from W/U.....

Just to let yall know I was going Tornado Chasing this year but, Gas has a hold on me this time.... :o(

Taco :o)
I'm good.This hurricane season is going to be very interesting in deed.
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1725. Grothar
Quoting caneswatch:


Both of you did.


Get to bed!!!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23739
1724. beell
Do bosons lead to hadrons? Or more specifically, are bosons a causal factor in the creation of hadrons?
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Quoting Grothar:


You failed.


Both of you did.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
1722. Grothar
Quoting twincomanche:
test


You failed.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23739
OK, no rebuttal for the Ozone says allot!
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Nor Coriolis, for that matter.
I did not want to for get "Atmoaggie" :o) Good to see you too :o)
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Hey!!.Yes! as we get closer to hurricane season I'm starting to see some old faces!.
Well you got the "Old Face Right" LOL.... :o) "How are You"????
Quoting Barefootontherocks:
Hey, Taco.
Colorado State's spring outlook seems to zap the hurricane pulses back up.

Good to see you.
:)
And Hey to you to Barefootontherocks :o) Its always good to see my Good Friends from W/U.....

Just to let yall know I was going Tornado Chasing this year but, Gas has a hold on me this time.... :o(

Taco :o)
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.