CSU predicts a very active hurricane season: 16 storms, 9 hurricanes

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:30 PM GMT on June 01, 2011

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A very active Atlantic hurricane season is on tap for 2011, according to the seasonal hurricane forecast issued June 1 by Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU). The CSU team is calling for 16 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) 166% of average. Between 1950 - 2000, the average season had 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. But since 1995, the beginning of an active hurricane period in the Atlantic, we've averaged 14 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 intense hurricanes per year. The new forecast is identical to their April forecast. The forecast calls for a much above-average chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S., both along the East Coast (48% chance, 31% chance is average) and the Gulf Coast (47% chance, 30% chance is average). The risk of a major hurricane in the Caribbean is also high, at 61% (42% is average.)

The forecasters cited four main reasons for an active season:

1) Neutral to weak La Niña conditions are expected during the most active portion of this year's hurricane season (August-October). This should lead to average to below average levels of vertical wind shear.

2) Above average May sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic.

3) Below average surface pressures during May in the tropical Atlantic.

4) We are in the midst of a multi-decadal era of major hurricane activity, which began in 1995. Major hurricanes cause 80-85 percent of normalized hurricane damage.

Analogue years
The CSU team picked five previous years when atmospheric and oceanic conditions were similar to what we are seeing this year: neutral to weak La Niña conditions in the equatorial Eastern Pacific, and above-average tropical Atlantic and far north Atlantic SSTs during April - May. Those five years were 2008, which featured Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Gustav; 1996, which had two hurricanes that hit North Carolina, Fran and Bertha; 1989, which featured Category 5 Hurricane Hugo; 1981, a very average year with 12 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes; and 1951, a year that featured 6 major hurricanes. The mean activity for these five years was 12 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 intense hurricanes.

How accurate are the June forecasts?
The June forecasts by the CSU team between 1998 and 2009 had a skill 19% - 30% higher than a "no-skill" climatology forecast for number of named storms, number of hurricanes, and the ACE index (Figure 1). This is a decent amount of skill for a seasonal forecast, and these June forecasts can be useful to businesses such as the insurance industry and oil and gas industry that need to make bets on how active the coming hurricane season will be. Unfortunately, the CSU June 1 forecasts do poorly at forecasting the number of major hurricanes (only 3% skill), and major hurricanes cause 80% - 85% of all hurricane damage (normalized to current population and wealth levels.) This year's June forecast uses a brand new formula never tried before, so there is no way to evaluate its performance. An Excel spreadsheet of their forecast skill (expressed as a mathematical correlation coefficient) show values from 0.41 to 0.62 for their June forecasts made between 1984 and 2010, which is respectable.


Figure 1. Comparison of the percent improvement over climatology for May and August seasonal hurricane forecasts for the Atlantic from NOAA, CSU and TSR from 1999-2009 (May) and 1998-2009 (August), using the Mean Squared Error. Image credit: Verification of 12 years of NOAA seasonal hurricane forecasts, National Hurricane Center.


Figure 2. Comparison of the percent improvement in mean square error over climatology for seasonal hurricane forecasts for the Atlantic from NOAA, CSU and TSR from 2001-2010, using the Mean Square Skill Score (MSSS). The figure shows the results using two different climatologies: a fixed 50-year (1950 - 1999) climatology, and a 2001 - 2010 climatology. Skill is poor for forecasts issued in December and April, moderate for June forecasts, and good for August forecasts. Image credit: Tropical Storm Risk, Inc.

TSR predicts 25% more activity than normal
Expect the Atlantic hurricane season to be about 25% more active than usual, the British private forecasting firm Tropical Storm Risk, Inc. (TSR) said in their pre-season forecast issued on May 24. TSR calls for 14.2 named storms, 7.6 hurricanes, 3.6 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of 124, which is 22% above average. Their May 24 forecast numbers are very close to their previous forecast issued in April. TSR predicts a moderate 55% chance that activity will rank in the top 1/3 of years historically, and a 59% chance that U.S. landfalling activity will be above average. TSR rates their skill level as 16-25% higher than a "no-skill" forecast made using climatology, though an independent assessment by the National Hurricane Center (Figure 1) gives them somewhat lower skill numbers.

TSR projects that 4.4 named storms will hit the U.S., with 1.9 of these being hurricanes. The averages from the 1950-2010 climatology are 3.1 named storms and 1.5 hurricanes. They rate their skill at making these June forecasts for U.S. landfalls at 7 - 11% higher than a "no-skill" forecast made using climatology. In the Lesser Antilles Islands of the Caribbean, TSR projects 1.3 named storms, 0.6 of these being hurricanes. Climatology is 1.1 named storms and 0.5 hurricanes.

TSR cites two main factors for their forecast of an active season:

1) Their model predicts that sea surface temperatures will be 0.11°C warmer than average in August and September over the Main Development Region (MDR) for Atlantic hurricanes. They define this as the area between 10°N and 20°N, between the coast of Africa and Lesser Antilles Islands (20°W and 60°W). It is called the Main Development Region because virtually all African waves originate in this region. These African waves account for 85% of all Atlantic major hurricanes and 60% of all named storms. When SSTs in the MDR are much above average during hurricane season, a very active season typically results (if there is no El Niño event present.)

2) Their model predicts slower than normal trade winds in August and September over the Main Development Region (MDR). Trade winds are forecast to be 0.19 meters per second (about 0.4 mph) slower than average. This would create more spin for developing storms, and allow the oceans to warm up, due to reduced mixing of cold water from the depths and lower evaporational cooling.

FSU predicts a very active hurricane season: 17 named storms
The Florida State University (FSU) Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) issued their third annual Atlantic hurricane season forecast today. This year's forecast calls for a 70% probability of 14-20 named storms and 8-10 hurricanes. The mean forecast is for 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and an accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) of 163. They cite warm tropical North Atlantic sea surface temperatures, a weakening of La Niña conditions, and the ongoing positive phase of the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation as the major factors influencing their forecast.

Other seasonal forecasts
The UK Met Office's Glosea4 model is predicting a moderately more active season than normal, with 13 named storms and a ACE index of 151. The Cuba Institute of Meteorology is calling for 13 named storms and 7 hurricanes. NOAA predicts 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4.5 intense hurricanes. Pennsylvania State University predicts 16 named storms.

A surprise tropical disturbance for Florida
The Atlantic hurricane season is officially underway, and Mother Nature appears to be taking her cue from the calendar, as we have a surprise storm off the coast of Florida that is a threat to develop into a tropical depression later this week, after it crosses Florida into the Gulf of Mexico. An cluster of thunderstorms called a Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) pushed across southern New England early yesterday, emerged over the ocean, and rotated clockwise towards Florida, steered by a large high pressure system centered over Kentucky. The center of the disturbance stayed over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, a region of low pressure developed, and intense thunderstorms began to build yesterday afternoon. Early this morning, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) designated the disturbance Invest 93L, and gave it a 10% chance of developing into a tropical depression. At 8am EDT, they upped those chances to 30%. Invest 93L is becoming increasingly organized, with Melbourne, Florida radar showing the beginnings of some rotation, with a solid band of heavy rain on the southwest side of the disturbance. The pressure and winds have leveled out at Buoy 41012, 40 nm ENE of St. Augustine, Florida. Winds peaked at 19 mph, gusting to 22 mph, at 10:50am EDT. Satellite imagery shows a small but intensifying region of thunderstorms. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are about 26°C (79°F) off the east coast of Florida, which is just warm enough to support formation of a tropical depression, and about 0.5°C above average. Wind shear is a low 5 - 10 knots, and it is likely that 93L will continue intensifying until it makes landfall over Central Florida this afternoon. A 50-mile wide swath of Florida from Daytona Beach to just north of Tampa can expect 1 - 3 inches of rain from 93L as it tracks over the state this afternoon and tonight. A Windsat pass this morning did not show a closed circulation, and I doubt 93L has enough time to develop into a tropical depression before landfall in Florida. The coast between Daytona Beach and Cocoa Beach could see wind gusts of 25 - 35 mph this afternoon, though.


Figure 3. Afternoon radar image of 93L from the Melbourne, Florida radar.

Fate of 93L once in the Gulf of Mexico
Since 93L is expected to continue its rapid west-southwest motion at 15 - 20 mph through Thursday, it will cross the Florida Peninsula in about 12 hours and emerge over the Gulf of Mexico early Thursday morning. It is possible that the passage over Florida will greatly disrupt 93L, since it is such a small system. I give a 40% chance that the storm will see its peak strength this afternoon, and not significantly regenerate over the Gulf of Mexico. However, the latest SHIPS model forecast predicts that wind shear will remain low to moderate, 5 - 15 knots, as 93L moves westwards over the Gulf of Mexico Thursday and Friday. SSTs in the Gulf are about 27°C (81°F), 0.5 - 1.0°C above average, and it is possible that 93L could gain enough strength to become Tropical Depression One as it crosses the Gulf. Since 93L will be moving parallel to the coast a short distance offshore, it is difficult to predict where the storm might make a second landfall, since a slight change in heading will make a large difference in landfall location. I don't expect widespread heavy rains from 93L along the Gulf Coast, since the storm is so small, but some locations close to the coast could receive 2 - 4 inches as 93L brushes by. Heavier rains are possible at the eventual landfall location. Since 93L is so small, the computer models are having trouble seeing the system, and are not very helpful forecasting the behavior of the storm over the Gulf of Mexico. The Hurricane Hunters are on call to fly into 93L Thursday afternoon at 2pm EDT, if necessary.

Central Caribbean disturbance
Moisture and heavy thunderstorm activity continues to slowly increase in the region between Central America and Jamaica, and wind shear is falling. With wind shear now 20 - 30 knots, we can expect this disturbance to show increased organization today, and recent satellite images show the beginnings of a surface circulation trying to get going about 100 miles off the coast of Northeast Nicaragua. All of the computer models predict that an area of low pressure will form in this region by Thursday, and this low will have the potential to develop into a tropical depression late this week or early next week. A surge of moisture accompanying a tropical wave currently south of Hispaniola may aid development when the wave arrives in the Western Caribbean on Thursday. Water temperatures in the Central Caribbean are about 1°C above average, 29°C, which is plenty warm enough to support development of a tropical storm. Residents of Jamaica, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua should anticipate the possibility that heavy rains of 2 - 4 inches may affect them Thursday through Saturday this week.


Figure 4. Satellite image of the Central Caribbean disturbance.

Catch my intro to the 2011 hurricane season on Internet radio
I'll be discussing the coming hurricane season on our Internet radio show, the Daily Downpour, tomorrow (Thursday) at 4:30pm EDT. Fellow wunderground meteorologists Shaun Tanner and Tim Roche will be hosting the show. We'll talk about the latest model runs, hurricane research, modeling accuracy, and hurricane climatology, and answer any questions listeners email in or call in. The email address to ask questions is broadcast@wunderground.com. Welcome to the hurricane season of 2011!

Jeff Masters

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Quoting scott39:
So less TCs than last season...But more potiential to hit land?


Indeed. Neutral's tend to focus development further west in the MDR (Main Development Region)in the Atlantic, thus increasing the risk to the Caribbean and the US. Due in part to a stronger Atlantic ridge increasing the trade winds in the eastern Atlantic. I've read a couple papers on the subject which state neutral years significantly decrease the chances of a storm hitting the east coast north of Florida's latitude. I find it interesting that CSU's new forecast's analog years mostly target the upper east coast.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
1542. JLPR2
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
XX/XX/XX


TW firing up nicely, while our low sits with "little clothes" near the coast of Central America.
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Quoting HotBreeze:
Hi Keeps, nice talking to you earlier on tonight, ^_^.



nic try not fooled me at all you keeper did not tell me a thing i found out on my own you been reported too wounder blog admin for bypassing bans



if i was admin you be long gone by now
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1540. scott39
93L BTD...A potiential TC or TC should never RIP!
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1539. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
XX/XX/XX
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1538. scott39
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
XX/XX/XX

NEAR 0 PERCENT
Another flaming ball bites the dust!!
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1536. skook
Link

NHK World

Snow on Fukushima peaks found to be radioactive

Snow in the mountains in Fukushima Prefecture is showing radioactive contamination at levels above the safety limit for drinking water.

Researchers from Fukushima University performed the analysis with a local environmental group. They sampled snow in 31 locations and at different altitudes from 7 peaks around Fukushima city, from mid-April through early May.

The results showed that snow in 14 locations contained more than 200 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium, the adult safe limit for drinking water.

A sample of snow from an altitude of 1,300 meters contained 3,000 becquerels of cesium.

Fukushima University Vice-President Akira Watanabe specializes in meteorology and says the data support his team's analysis that radioactive substances scattered at an altitude of 1,300 meters.

He is urging mountain climbers not to drink river water or gather edible wild plants, now that high levels of radioactivity in the snow have been confirmed.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011 15:40 +0900 (JST)
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1535. scott39
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


Fading La Nina.
So less TCs than last season...But more potiential to hit land?
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1534. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
XX/XX/XX

NEAR 0 PERCENT
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1533. Bitmap7
Quoting KoritheMan:


So far it's up to day 8 and doesn't do much with it. Very weak on this run, keeping the system a broad area of low pressure. This can probably be attributed at least in part due to the ongoing convection to the east, associated with a tropical wave. I guess it robs some of the energy from it and thus it never really gets going.

I did notice something rather interesting on this run, though: the trough appears to be farther east and less amplified, not only failing to push the system out to sea, but the weakness closes pretty fast too. Here it is at 120 hours:



Thank you. When does the Nogaps start?
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Quoting scott39:
I wonder why the number of 2011 TCs predictions are lower than last years.....Yet there seems to be overall better ingredients in the forecast this year.


Fading La Nina.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
1530. scott39
I wonder why the number of 2011 TCs predictions are lower than last years.....Yet there seems to be overall better ingredients in the forecast this year.
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Quoting Bitmap7:
Could someone please do the honors on updating the blog with the 00z gfs runs please?


So far it's up to day 8 and doesn't do much with it. Very weak on this run, keeping the system a broad area of low pressure. This can probably be attributed at least in part due to the ongoing convection to the east, associated with a tropical wave. I guess it robs some of the energy from it and thus it never really gets going.

I did notice something rather interesting on this run, though: the trough appears to be farther east and less amplified, not only failing to push the system out to sea, but the weakness closes pretty fast too. Here it is at 120 hours:



EDIT: Nevermind. Apparently the model still foresees a large enough weakness at 500 mb to sufficiently recurve the system. Here it is at 192 hours:

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Related articles...


Quoting alfabob:

Putting sulfur into the atmosphere to reflect the suns rays while trapping in the internally produced heat (advertising for a net loss of heat)? Well at least that is what the literature says.....


Scientist Offers Better Ways to Engineer Earth's Climate to Prevent Dangerous Global Warming

ScienceDaily (Sep. 6, 2010) %u2014 There may be better ways to engineer the planet's climate to prevent dangerous global warming than mimicking volcanoes, a University of Calgary climate scientist says in two new studies.

"Releasing engineered nano-sized disks, or sulfuric acid in a condensable vapor above the Earth, are two novel approaches. These approaches offer advantages over simply putting sulfur dioxide gas into the atmosphere," says David Keith, a director in the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy and a Schulich School of Engineering professor.....

Link

Geoengineering: How to Cool Earth--At a Price

Global warming has become such an overriding emergency that some climate experts are willing to consider schemes for partly shielding the planet from the sun's rays. But no such scheme is a magic bullet....
Link

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id= geoengineering-how-to-cool-earth
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Quoting Bitmap7:


Thats a decent drop in pressure. Visible organisation should soon follow suite. As well as a possible upgrade from the nhc o invest by tomorrow. If they acknowledge the pressure drop.



It was at 1006.9 last night about the same time so, a 2mb drop assuming the reading is accurate. The low is in the general area, hard to pick out exactly where.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Night all...
Member Since: March 15, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 2490
what is going on with the weather? June, no way....................

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA AND
MONTEREY BAY AREA.

.DAY ONE...WEDNESDAY AND WEDNESDAY NIGHT

A STORM SYSTEM WILL PRODUCE SHOWERS ALONG WITH SOME THUNDERSTORMS
NORTH OF MONTEREY BAY. A FEW OF THE THUNDERSTORMS COULD HAVE SMALL HAIL.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...THURSDAY THROUGH TUESDAY

A STRONG STORM SYSTEM WILL MOVE NEAR OUR COAST ON FRIDAY.
WIDESPREAD RAINFALL IS EXPECTED FROM SAN FRANCISCO NORTHWARD
FRIDAY EVENING INTO SATURDAY. MORE THAN AN INCH OF RAIN IS
POSSIBLE AND HIGHER ELEVATION SPOTS IN THE NORTH BAY MOUNTAINS
COULD PICK UP MORE THAN 2 INCHES. LESSER AMOUNTS SHOULD FALL TO
THE SOUTH.
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1524. scott39
That is a classic "home brew" in the Caribbean! I am going with the high end on the # of TCs for the 2011 season.
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1523. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting alfabob:

Putting sulfur into the atmosphere to reflect the suns rays while trapping in the internally produced heat (advertising for a net loss of heat)? Well at least that is what the literature says, if it is going on though it is more likely to make someone money; because it is one of the worst ideas for climate change mitigation that I have heard so far. I guess you can consider what is used for cloud seeding as chemtrails also, but that would be for producing rain. What I notice sometimes are some spots where the same plane loops around a few times and stays on the same line that they are spraying. Some of them turn out to be like black-faint clouds floating through the sky; I've even watched it up-close and saw particulates falling from it. Even on high pressure days "contrails" are showing up, only time I don't see them is when shear is to high for them to fly.


I think your right about the money. If you have any weather modifying plans be sure to file the proper paperwork with COMMERCE/NOAA-8.
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Quoting alfabob:
I still don't understand why NHC gives a storm a higher chance when it doesn't look that great, and then after it has convection going for a while they lower it. 93L was at 30% before the coast, and is probably around twice (x2.5 even) the size now and back over water; but for some reason 10%. Just wait until the LLC and MCV become fully detached and the winds start wrapping around better.. that is what they are calling a trough.

I did find it funny that it had a 20% chance while overland, and then a 10% chance once it reemerged over water.

But time is running out. this little blob that could is chugging really fast and, as a result, it will be back over land soon. Keep in mind, tropical systems dont form overnight and certainly don't get names overnight, as the NHC often likes to wait a little even if a feature is exhibiting tropical storm characteristics.

So although sheer and SSTs are favorable, time is running out. Additionally, although the environment is not as dry as the water vapor is showing



it is still fairly dry

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Quoting alfabob:

On 93L? I haven't really been watching the Caribbean today. I noticed multiple vorticity in the afternoon and decided it needed more time to develop. It would be interesting though if the hole with 93L sticks around on the next frame, I don't see it on IR.


Ok I see now lol. I agree it is interesting but I think due to the fast forward movement, it won't be able to get its act together before landfall in the next day or two.

The Caribbean system has really beefed up this evening and sheer continues to drop over the region:

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Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
Did anyone see this?


STORM 2... BINGER-EL RENO-PIEDMONT-GUTHRIE

PRELIMINARY DATA...
EVENT DATE: MAY 24, 2011
EVENT TYPE: TORNADO
EF RATING: EF-5
ESTIMATED PEAK WINDS (MPH): GREATER THAN 210 MPH
INJURIES/FATALITIES: UNKNOWN/9
EVENT START LOCATION AND TIME: 8 WNW BINGER 3:30 PM CDT
EVENT END LOCATION AND TIME: 4 NE GUTHRIE 5:35 PM CDT
DAMAGE PATH LENGTH (IN MILES): 75 MILES
DAMAGE WIDTH: UNKNOWN
NOTE: RATING BASED ON UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA MOBILE DOPPLER RADAR
MEASUREMENTS.

from the Oklahoma outbreak last week
Is that our 5th EF-5 of the year???

All we need is one more EF-5 Tornado to tie the most EF-5s in a year. We already had the most expensive tornado, one of the deadliest tornadoes and tornado seasons, most tornadoes in a day, in two days, in three days, in four days, in a month, and are on our way to most tornadoes in a season...

Not to mention tornadoes touching down in Massachusetts and California today?

Whatta year for tornadoes.
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1517. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
xx/xx/93l
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Quoting alfabob:

Well on the image I posted its in the southern half of the convection, the frame before it there is a little bit of cloud cover (still visible though), and you can see it again on the one before that. Link


can you give lat--lon please it's easier to understand what convection you are talking about because I see 3 large convection balls lol
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Hello everyone back for another hurricane season see there are two areas of disturbed weather out there one in the gulf and one that i am keeping my eye on in the caribbean the gulf one is dead just traveling too fast and dry air is choking it at the moment so no development the one down south is the one to watch shear is becoming favorable the water is warm but it will take time to get going though as most of these systems often do. i hope i can contribute to this blog more than i did last year.
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1514. Bitmap7
Could someone please do the honors on updating the blog with the 00z gfs runs please?
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1512. Skyepony (Mod)
93L sped up too much. It took 6hrs to cross FL, it's traveled 3Xs that distance in the last 6.
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1511. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting kmanislander:


You joined yesterday eh ??. So what was the handle before then ?
i give ya a clue HTB ring of new tune
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1508. Walshy
The Caribbean disturbance looks large compared to 93L.

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Quoting alfabob:
There is a small hole showing up on RGB that has been in the same spot over the loop current for the last 3 frames, this could get interesting if that is what I think it is.


Where are you seeing this hole?
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Chemtrails?
What's the purpose? To seed the clouds to rain? Possibly poison us in the process to some extent, or something more?
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1500. Bitmap7
Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
"The Caribbean Sleeper" is down to 1004.9



Thats a decent drop in pressure. Visible organisation should soon follow suite. As well as a possible upgrade from the nhc o invest by tomorrow. If they acknowledge the pressure drop.
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Yuck...I'm back to missing Mississippi...Yuck...Stupid Katrina...really messed up our lives...
Member Since: March 15, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 2490
Quoting HotBreeze:


I am not, good blogger, why do you ask?




i this wanted too make sure my good sir
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msgambler...
I'll be taking the kids to hang out on Ship Island pretty soon...The Beau Rivage has had some pretty nice rates lately and I love their buffet...But, we'll probably end up staying in Gulfport to be closer to the ferry...
Member Since: March 15, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 2490
Thought this might be of interest to some.

NWSNorman NWS Norman
NWS Norman is now on Twitter! We serve 48 counties in OK and 8 counties in N TX with life-saving warnings and wx info. Thanks for following!
https://twitter.com/#!/NWSNorman
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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.